Unions, state in final wage deal

2010-10-19 19:05

Johannesburg - Public sector unions, representing about 1.3 million workers have accepted a government wage hike offer, bringing a formal end to a strike that shut school and caused chaos in hospitals, officials said.

"We have a deal. The unions that will sign from today constitute a majority," Chris Klopper, a spokesperson for the Independent Labour Caucus federation, said on Tuesday.

The government offered the workers a raise of 7.5%, about double the inflation rate, and R800 a month for housing. Unions were seeking 8% and R1 000.

The three-week strike through most of August cost the economy an estimated one billion rand a day, damaged support for the president and led to millions of days of lost work at government offices, schools and hospitals.

It was suspended in early September with workers returning to their jobs.

The agreement relieves pressure on President Jacob Zuma and the ANC by easing friction with the country's largest labour federation Cosatu, which took part in the strike and is in a governing alliance with the ANC.

The deal will probably swell state spending by between 1% and 2% of the budget, putting pressure on the government to consider tax increases and budget cuts elsewhere.

The housing allowance will cost about twice as much as the government spends on environmental protection and is much more than a new plan to expand antiretroviral therapy in the country with one of the world's highest infection rates of HIV and Aids.

The wage deal will be applied retroactively from July, union officials said. The government needed at least 50%  of the unions representing striking workers to agree to the deal for it to go into effect.

  • tomtom - 2010-10-20 05:40

    The deal should long have been signed. One is surprised by the double standard of our own union that refuses to sign yet wanting others to sign (This position was however a consulted one). Membership should graduate to a position where we understand the end of the road and accept things we can't change in record time. The present situation has dug workers financial woes even deeper than before.

  • thomas - 2010-10-20 09:54

    I think the unions have taken us for a ride. why did they waited so long to sign the deal as there is nothing that has changed since their delay. We must understand that the strike was suspended because there waa ANC NGC in Durban. This is what have happened during 2007 when there was ANC Polokwane conference. this has to be an eye opener to everyone.

  • Bra Tom - 2010-10-20 09:56

    At freaken last, now I can feed my family!

  • phosa t f - 2010-10-20 10:37

    Mr Baloyi must know that we are government employees before beeing union members and emplement the agreement today as the stike was for our union Leaders more than beeing ours.The union Leaders are gaining more than union members,That is why they will not end negotiations in time.

  • Tinyiko - 2010-10-20 11:13

    I feel pity for the teachers and the nurses because they have been on strike for three weeks, while other public (administration) workers were cheating by working and making the strike to be ineffective. Teachers and nurses benefited nothing; because the ‘no work no pay’ money that is going to be deducted from their salaries exceed the 7.5% increase. These union leaders are not strategic in their actions and negotiations, they cannot culculate their decisions, they are just selling out members of their trade unions, fooling people in order to pave their way to better political positions.

  • Andre - 2010-10-20 11:26

    Agree with tomtom.i now here we have to wait a further month before this money is paid out which is a disgrace considering that we waited so long due to the mess of the government and the unions.Clearly the close shop agreement need to be revisited as it robs us of our right to affiliation.Perhaps the Unions will improve their performance if they don't have a right to our monthly subscriptions.

  • King - 2010-10-20 12:10

    Cosatu are sellouts, they were the first to sign because they didn't want to put pressure on ANC government. Three weeks down the drain only for 0.5%. Becareful Cosatu not everybody is stupid, workers are floor crossing.

  • Lucky Makhubela - 2010-10-20 12:46

    Thank to those union who signed the wage deal. I, colleagues and other gov. employees have long waited for this to come. Shame to those gready unions who use us for their political gain. Government must start to realise that as public servants we deserve better housing allowance in order to own decent or reasonable homes.

  • Ronny Lebese - 2010-10-20 13:30

    I feel sorry for those who spend all those weeks striking for better salaries for all. At the end of day their salaries will deducted following the principle of no work no pay.

  • thando - 2010-10-20 15:22

    when is the implementation day?

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