Sisulu eyes service charter

Public Service Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has asked unions to return to the negotiating table.

Public Service Minister Lindiwe Sisulu

PRETORIA - Public Works Minister Lindiwe Sisulu intendeds on negotiating a service charter with unions to ensure future wage increases are linked to performance.

The newly appointed minister was speaking at a National Press Club briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday morning, where she appealed to unions to return to the negotiating table.

With high wages and low returns, Sisuslu said government has realised that the public service is affecting service delivery.

She said above-inflation wage increases resulted in an unaffordable wage bill, with 38 percent of government expenses going to the public service.

Sisulu wants to set up a service charter with the unions.

"We will both develop principles governing remuneration, where salary increases are based on productivity and performance."

She said if the unions demand more than what is already on the table, the money will have to come from the poor.

Last week, public service unions announced a deadlock in salary talks.

Unions demanded an eight percent wage hike, with a further R1,500 housing allowance.

The minister said government's offer is equal to nine percent and is already R8 billion over what government has put in its budget.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the Independent Labour Caucus (ILC) represents 14 unions and approximately 1.3 million state employees.

In a joint statement on Friday, officials said talks deadlocked in the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC).

In February, the unions demanded a 10 percent salary increase.

The state put through a counter-offered of 4,8 percent, which labour rejected.

On April 21, government offered five percent, which the unions also rejected.