Nupsaw rejects public sector wage deal

The National Union Of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) has joined the Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA) in refusing to sign the finalised public sector wage proposal, causing an impasse in the negotiations.

The Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council concluded the wage negotiations on Friday last week and on Monday morning presented the agreement to trade unions and government to be signed.But not all members of the bargaining council are on board with the wage proposal, with the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) affiliate PSA calling for more time to consult with members.

READ MORE: Public sector wage talks teeter on a knife edge

In a statement released on Tuesday, South African Federation of Trade Unions affiliate Nupsaw also said that the union would not sign the agreement in its current form.

Nupsaw general secretary Success Mataitsane said the union “rejects this agreement with the contempt it deserves”.

All Cosatu affiliates agreed to sign off on the agreement. On Monday Fedusa accused the public service and administration department, which is headed by Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, of trying to “force through” the proposal even though the PSA declared a dispute over the agreement last week. The federation said that government kicked them out of the debate and pushed on with negotiations without them.

READ MORE: PSA holds out on signing public sector wage deal

Fedusa called this “an open attack on collective bargaining”. The deal will see 7% increases for junior employees for 2018/2019, backdated to April 1, when the previous agreement lapsed. Mid-level employees will receive 6.5% increases and senior staff will have raises of 6%.

The agreement for the first year for the entire civil service is above inflation increases with the Bureau of Economic Research projecting Consumer Price Index (CPI) at 5.2% in 2018.Unions that tabled their demands in October last year initially wanted increases of between 10% to 12%. The PSA is sticking to a demand of 10% increase.

Nupsaw said that the current agreement discriminates against level eight to twelve workers especially in the subsequent years. The union argued that the agreement leaves no room for increased compensation should the CPI be higher than projected in the following years.

The union also said that the current agreement on the housing allowance would take away its members rights by giving employers the sole right to design and implement a permission to occupy tenure.

Nupsaw is also rejecting the review of danger insurance in the proposal, saying that the union believes the “insurance cover will invariably result in the withdrawal of danger allowance”.

“We cannot agree to taking away a cent from our members,” the statement said.

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

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