The Public Service Association has asked its 235 000 members to prepare for strike action in the coming weeks, following a deadlock in wage negotiations with government.
It had been previously reported that the government did not bend to unions’ demands for higher wages, offering a 0% increase. Unions rejected this and a follow-up meeting was scheduled for Friday 23 April to allow government to table a revised offer.
However, the revised offer did not include a budget for higher wages but rather shifting around funds allocated for resettlement, daily allowances and encashment of leave to the wage increase.
Unions rejected the revised offer, called it ‘absurd’ and both parties agreed that a deadlock has been reached. According to reports, workers are demanding salary increases of CPI plus 4%. Local government authorities offered 2.8% in negotiations, while provincial and national government stuck to the 0% hike.
Following Friday’s unsuccessful meeting, unions have told members to prepare for strike action.
According to reports, Public Service and Administration minister Senzo Mchunu said that the government has run out of options when it comes to wage hikes, as the country faces worsening financial problems which will push it towards a fiscal cliff.
He said, “These are the most difficult negotiations between the government and organised labour which the country has ever faced,”.