Cosatu wants swift solution to wage dispute

"We are committed to finding a solution as soon as possible," said Mugwena Maluleke, chief negotiator of the Congress of South African Trade Unions on Thursday.

"That is why we have elevated this matter to a legal process."

Maluleke said the secretary of the bargaining council needed to appoint someone registered with the council and the Council for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to mediate the process.

The federation announced on Wednesday that a wage dispute had been declared with the government.

Cosatu, which claims to represent over 58% of the country's public servants, said the government was negotiating in bad faith.

Declaring a dispute
The state had offered a 6.9% increase during a meeting on July 4 but reduced the offer to 6.7% on Tuesday, Cosatu said.

Independent Labour Caucus (ILC) spokesperson Chris Klopper said the ILC declared a dispute with government three weeks ago, but the caucus' dispute was not the same as Cosatu's.

"What could happen is that the [bargaining] council might want to see a joining of the disputes. However the two disputes are not the same," he said.

"Government has come back to the bargaining table but they have not addressed our concerns."

The ILC's concerns related to set wage adjustments tied to the Consumer Price Index, unilateral additional working, and a housing allowance, which Klopper described as a deal-breaker.

Bridging gaps
The Public Servants Association (PSA) declared the same dispute as the ILC in conjunction with the caucus.

PSA general manager Danny Adonis said he hoped an agreement could be reached quickly.

"The gaps aren't that large anymore and we should be able to bridge those gaps as soon as possible. It's important to ensure everything is put [in order] properly," he said.

Ndivhuwo Mabaya, spokesperson for Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Sisulu said in a statement on Wednesday that government intended finalising negotiations as soon as possible. – Sapa

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