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Public servants vote on strike

Jul 13 2010 11:13

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Unions threaten disruptions

Johannesburg - The Public Servants Association (PSA) is balloting its 210 000 members on whether they should go on strike over what they consider an unacceptable pay offer, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

"The responses received to date via the various provincial structures clearly indicate that the majority of members who participated in the mandating processes are in favour of strike action and this support base is growing daily", said PSA deputy general manager Manie de Clercq.

Conciliation failed on June 29 when both sides became stuck on a 6.5% increase and a hike in the housing allowance from R500 to R620 per month.

The conciliator issued a certificate on June 29 indicating that the various disputes remain unresolved.

De Clercq said so far 80% of PSA members had opted to strike, and they hoped to finalise the canvassing by Friday. They worked in home affairs, deeds offices, immigration and public hospitals.

Other unions also bargaining in that chamber include the SA Democratic Nurses Union (Denosa), the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union, the Police and Prisoners' Civil Rights Union, the SA Onderwysersunie (SA Teachers' Union) - up to 1.3 million employees, according to De Clercq.

Denosa spokesperson Asanda Fongqo confirmed the union was part of the Congress of SA Trade Unions sector within the bargaining chamber and had its sights set on the same salary and related improvements, which included a housing allowance of R1 000 and a boosted medical aid contribution.

He defended asking for an increase over the 4.6% inflation rate, saying it was "definitely not high" compared with the rocketing cost of living.

They had been flexible with their negotiations, dropping from their initial demand of 13%, but the government had not budged. They believed public servants deserved increased salaries so that, for example, nurses could be retained.

Public Service spokesperson Dumisani Nkwamba said Minister Richard Baloyi, was meeting unions on Wednesday in the hope of finding a resolution to the impasse. Further details would be made available after that meeting.

  - Sapa

psa  |  public servants strike



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