Public service unions accept offer

2010-10-13 17:58

Johannesburg - Public sector unions have accepted the government's wage offer after months of intense negotiations and a debilitating three-week strike by civil servants.
Seven of eight trade unions agreed Wednesday to accept a 7.5% pay raise and a R800 monthly housing allowance.

The one holdout, the teachers' union, said the raise wasn't enough but agreed to the terms anyhow.
Teachers' union president Thobile Ntola says the union respects the union bloc's decision but believes teachers should earn more.
The strike crippled not only schools but also public hospitals, and slowed work at the country's courts, passport offices and morgues.
The unions suspended their strike last month to consider the government's offer.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions has also announced that the public sector strike was over, even though no deal had been signed with the government.

At a press conference on Wednesday evening in Centurion, National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) president Michael Makwayiba said that seven of the eight Cosatu unions had accepted the government's offer of a 7.5% wage increase and an R800 housing allowance.

“Today I think is the final closure of the strike. We do think that at the end of the day we will reach the 50%,” he said.

Shortly before the conference, Independent Labour Caucus (ILC) spokesman Chris Klopper said that one of the ILC unions had accepted the offer, bringing the total to about 45% workers accepting it.

He said that by next Tuesday he believed that another 36% of the ILC union leadership would have received a mandate from their members.

Makwayiba said he did not believe the government would now withdraw its offer until Tuesday.

“We must appreciate the strike this year was a long protracted strike. We had to be sure that we reach every union,” said Makwayiba.

The unions had asked for extra time to consider government's final offer, after which they would come back formally with a response.

The unions suspended their four week strike early in September to allow union members time to consider the government's offer.

The cabinet has also welcomed public sector unions officially calling off their strike, and urged them to accept the final wage offer made by the government.

"We welcome the announcement by the unions that they've officially called off the strike, which is good news for all South Africans," government spokesperson Themba Maseko told a media briefing after cabinet's regular meeting.

"We believe this current phase needs to be concluded so that we can begin to discuss all the other outstanding issues that were on the table.

"In contrast to what is out there in the public arena, we believe that relations between government and the unions have not totally broken down. There is still scope for sober discussions to take place between the state and the union negotiators," he said.

As soon as the government receives feedback from the unions, a decision would be made as to what would happen next.

"(But) we expect the offer will be implemented within a matter of days," he said.

  • Madiks - 2010-10-14 07:37

    The gab between the rich and poor will not be narrowed. I feel pitty for poor Teachers who produce professionals and well respected people in society, and yet live in poverty. Most of them who taught I feel shame, they still where we left them. Shame

  • PHUMZA - 2010-10-14 08:11

    please sign we are sick and tired of this nonsense

  • themba - 2010-10-14 09:15

    its good for having resolved the issue, but still public servants deserve better than that.

  • Rasras - 2010-10-14 09:37

    Cde,Which month are they(goverment)going to backdate the annual increase ? I hope it will be from my dreams,festive is around the corner.

  • Get on with it - 2010-10-14 09:45

    Other than the teachers... (which is questionable with our current pass rate statistics) - I think all employees in the public services sector should be paid a small basic and then a incentivised on performance. With the current state of our roads, hospital care, sewage & refuse systems we seemed to be heading in a downward spiral. Lack of funding is a problem but it also comes down to an appreciation and comitment to the service being provided.

  • Bev - 2010-10-14 09:57

    I am so sick and tired of this nonsense. They must sign and get over it. I have never in my life seen and heard of anything taking this long. Myself being a single mom really need the extra money.

  • Brendan - 2010-10-14 10:11

    Privatize all under performing public services. It will only be fair to every one in South Africa. and when that service makes a loss then BAMMMM your're fired, retrenched, Salary freeze or cut.

  • 123 - 2010-10-14 10:17

    @rasras Yes, it will be from April but you will obviously pay a lot of tax on it

  • GANYANE WA MALULEKE - 2010-10-14 13:49

    All Unions should accept the offer, i don't understand why some unions say they still need a mandate from the members, what were they doing for the past three weeks, Both Unions and the Employer are to be blammed for this delay. The employer always want public servants to be effecient and effective when they have to wait for more than four months for their increase. Our goverment is continuing to fall the people of South Africa.

  • Nzule - 2010-10-19 14:54

    Reject it with the contempt it deserves.Kangaman got that position with the promise that workers will have it their way!!!!!!!

  • Mgedeza - 2010-10-20 15:10

    It was quite a long endeavour to find the solution.I propose that this kinds of disputes be resolved in a strategic way in order to avert long deliberations.The period we have endured to resolve this strike(2010) was quite unreasonable

  • Dineo - 2010-10-23 19:45

    did all unions sign for d increase?

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