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Public sector unions gear up for protest next week after deadlock in wage negotiations

Public sector unions gear up for protest next week after deadlock in wage negotiations

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Johannesburg – Public sector unions have announced a one-day strike referred to as the national day of action next Tuesday.

This follows a deadlock in wage negotiations with government.

Cosatu, Fedusa, Saftu and its affiliates made the announcement on Thursday at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC).

The demonstrations are set to take place at all the workplaces including public hospitals, the ports, and government institutions in all nine provinces.

There will also be demonstrations leading to the National Treasury in Pretoria.

Part of the statement reads: “A day when all aggrieved public servants will down tools and take to the streets to show the government that we are aware that the battle is not just for their salaries to shrink but to kill the capacity of the state as we know it.

“Through national marches, workers will embark on one-day demonstrations to various departments and government entities.

“Furthermore, the National Day of Action was sparked by comments made by finance minister Enoch Godongwana during the mid-term budget policy statement where the minister said “Ba zamile”, meaning we tried, referring to the 3% offer that was made.

“Our stand is also to demonstrate the seriousness with which we take the government’s concerted effort to underplay the role and significance of collective bargaining and the agreements that bind parties.

“With the rapidly increased cost of living, as the international lenders warn the worst is yet to come, the government wants public servants to be at peace with less inflation increases. This cannot stand unchallenged”.

The workers mandated the unions with 15 consolidated demands during the 2022/23 salary negotiations, included a cost-of-living adjustment of 10% given that the interest rate hikes and inflation have made the cost of living more expensive.

Also included in the demands was access to a pension fund before retirement and an encashment of capped leave, among others, and months since the negotiations began, the government has refused to concede to these.

“We have resolved to rally our collective might to push the employer to improve the rejected offer and will use everything in our power to register our disdain to the government,” read part of the statement.

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