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Public service wage talks continue

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Public service unions affiliated to the Congress of SA Trade Unions on Tuesday said they were continuing wage talks with government.

Negotiations were earlier abandoned after the two sides failed to reach an agreement, the SA Democratic Teachers’ Unions (Sadtu) said in a statement on behalf of the other unions.

“After much delay from the employer, the negotiations came to a halt in the early hours of Monday,” Sadtu deputy general secretary Nkosana Dolopi said.

“The meeting went on until 2.30am in the morning, with labour insisting on negotiating for a better deal, an approach that was met with an arrogant and intransigent attitude of the employer,” he said.

The unions involved were the Sadtu, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA, the SA Medical Association, the SA Social Workers’ Union, and the Public and Allied Workers’ Union of SA.

When negotiations started in September, unions demanded a 15 percent salary hike for all government workers. They also wanted a R3000 housing allowance in the absence of a government employees’ housing scheme, which was to be delinked from each spouse employed in the public service.

The unions also wanted 10 working days leave for parents with children with disabilities, and a bursary scheme for government employees’ children.

Earlier this month, the unions revised their demands to a 10 percent increase and a R1500 housing allowance. The current agreement in place expires on March 31.

During Monday’s negotiations, the government offered a five percent increase for the current financial year and CPI plus 0.5 percent in the next two financial years. The unions rejected this.

“It must be noted that labour is fully committed to engage the employer seven days a week until the settlement is reached,” Dolopi said.

“At the same time, as labour, we will be engaging with our members to comprehensively engage with them on what is transpiring in the negotiations.”

Talks resume on Wednesday. SAPA

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