Unions far from striking a wage deal with govt

Unions announced they will embark on a one-day march next week to the offices of the National Treasury.

FILE: A small group of Cosatu members singing and dancing outside the Cosatu House in Johannesburg's CBD ahead of an announcement by the union's secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) affiliated unions in the public sector say they are far from striking a deal with government despite months of negotiations.

Unions on Thursday announced they would embark on a one-day march next Thursday to the offices of the National Treasury in Pretoria.

The state has put a 4.8 percent increase on the table but unions want nothing less than 10 percent.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) general secretary Bereng Soke says workers are not pleased with the drawn-out process.

"We think that it's important that we must support our demands through showing the anger of our members on what the employer has thus far presented as a proposal or offer on real wage for workers."

Soke said a directive from treasury was the reason for government dragging its feet in wage talks.

"Treasury has announced that government will not increase the total package of employees in government by more than 6,6 percent."

Soke said the march aimed to call for an end to treasury's directive.

Although the march will take place in Gauteng, pickets are set to be held in other provinces.

Parties have until the first week of May to find common ground before the current conciliation lapses.