Acting Public Service and Administration Minister, Thulas Nxesi, says the final offer of an average of 7.5% by government remains available and has not been withdrawn, as it has been purported in the media.
“All parties to the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) have been advised of the need to engage and settle the matter of wages,” Nxesi said.
Addressing media in Cape Town earlier this week, Nxesi said is important to ensure that any risk to the integrity of the fiscus is managed and agreements are incorporated into the public finance budgeting framework.
Nxesi said to ensure that public servants are not disadvantaged and to safeguard the fiscal health of the country, the draft agreement has to be implemented before the tabling of the 2022 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) by the Minister of Finance.
“As government, we remain committed to respecting organised labour, safeguarding the collective bargaining processes and promoting labour peace,” Nxesi said.
The Minister said all action will be taken to ensure that the bargaining process is protected.
“As a last resort, DPSA has requested facilitation by the CCMA in order to break the deadlock and safeguard the collective bargaining process.
“Any announcement of industrial action remains premature. The PSCBC General Secretary and CCMA Director have confirmed interest in facilitating this request by government and we will work with them,” Nxesi said.
Nxesi said the current round of negotiations commenced with pre-negotiations session at the PSCBC where the timetable for negotiations was adopted in an attempt to fast track the 2022/23 round of negotiations to conclude earlier and commence immediately with the 2023/24 negotiations so as to align the negotiations with the planning cycle of government.
“This is important to ensure that any risk to the integrity of the fiscus is managed and agreements are incorporated into the public finance budgeting framework,” the Minister said.
Earlier this month, the Public Service and Administration Director-General said government has been negotiating in good faith and the door of government is still open for labour to consider accepting the offer.
During the negotiations, there have been numerous rounds of discussions, with offers and counteroffers between the employer and the unions, including areas of significant disagreement.
As part of negotiating in good faith, government proposed a facilitation process as part of deadlock-breaking mechanisms. Facilitation took place on 26 – 30 August 2022.
Government had earlier proposed that employees continue to be paid a non-pensionable cash gratuity, which amounts to an average of R1 000.00 after tax to all employees across salary levels 1 – 12.
This amounts to an average of 4.5% of the R20.5 billon allocated for salaries in the 2022/23 compensation budget.
Organised labour rejected this offer.
Source: South African Government News Agency