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‘Do-or-die’ meeting to take place over public service wage

Cosatu unions and government are expected to discuss the deadlock in public service wage talks.

FILE: Cosatu represents just over half of government’s unionised workers. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Unions under the Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) umbrella will today meet with government to discuss the deadlock in public service wage talks in what's been described as a do-or-die meeting over proposed increases.

The state is offering a 4,5 percent wage hike which has been revised from 5,7 percent, in line with projected inflation.

Cosatu represents just over half of government's unionised workers and is under pressure to secure a deal as it faces an internal split.

The federation's president Sdumo Dlamini says the unions have revised their demand to 10 percent, but need clarity on why the offer was decreased.

"It has never been done because we are then taking away what already is on the table, which is the challenge. But we hope that they may be able to clear those basic principles of negotiation and allowed proper negotiations to happen."

Last year, public sector unions rejected government's offer of a 5,8 percent wage hike for the 1.3 million state employees.

The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) said it was demanding a 15 percent pay hike.

Nehawu also wanted the housing allowance to be upped from R900 a month to R3,000.

Nehawu is a key member of the Cosatu and is seen as having a strong influence on how other unions vote.