/ 6 August 2012

Sisulu: Wage agreement is step one towards serving people

Public Services Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says government has reached a wage agreement with unions.
Public Services Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says government has reached a wage agreement with unions.

"The signing of this agreement by all unions begins the first step towards a lifetime partnership in service delivery and serving the people," she said.

"This kind of commitment from labour demonstrates our collective dedication towards the building of a new public service."

Sisulu said she received the final version of the agreement on Monday, and confirmed that all unions represented in the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council had signed it.

She was using the "positive spirit" of the wage negotiations to improve the quality of the public service.

"We will in the coming weeks begin our stakeholder road shows to listen to all South Africans on how best they would like their public servants to serve them," Sisulu said.

"It is now time to say no to bad service, and we must empower our citizens to voice out their dissatisfaction when they are not happy; our people deserve five-star service, nothing else."

Sisulu said she was also committed to completing a consultation process with stakeholders before she developed a service delivery "charter or accord".

Government and public sector unions signed a 7% wage increase agreement last week on Tuesday.

CPI + 1%
The increase is with effect from May. For 2013 to 2015 the increase will be the equivalent of the consumer price index plus 1%.

It was also agreed to amend the qualifying period for pay progression from 12 to 24 months for new public service employees.

Workers would also get more annual leave and cash awards for long service.

The Federation of Unions of South Africa said at the time that the settlement was a win-win outcome for workers and the state.

"It shows that our unions and their members are in touch with the realities facing our country, and that we can trust them to deliver the services expected by our citizens," general secretary Dennis George said.

Workers declared a wage dispute with government during negotiations in July.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions said at the time that the state had offered a 6.9% increase during a meeting on July 4, but reduced the offer to 6.7% on July 10.

Labour had demanded an 8% salary increase. – Sapa