Cosatu calls on DPSA to change negotiators

Nehawu’s Deputy General-Secretary Michael Makwayiba made the plea to the state.

FILE: Cosatu House. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has called on the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) to change its negotiators at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council and warns that if they don't, a strike by more than half a million public servants is imminent.

The federation on Thursday led a march of 11,000 workers through Pretoria's city center to hand over a memorandum to the National Treasury and DPSA.

The government has offered 5,8 percent wage offer while the unions are demanding a 10 percent hike plus a R1,500 housing allowance.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu)'s Deputy General-Secretary Michael Makwayiba made the plea to the state in front of thousands of Cosatu members.

"We want to say to the government and those who mandate officials to go to negotiations, please, if it's possible, and that you want peace in this country... change your negotiators. They're not negotiating on our behalf."

Makwayiba has warned that Thursday's march is only a warning shot.

"This time around it is the employer that declared the dispute, an invitation for workers to strike and we're very much happy to welcome and accept the invitation."

He ended his address by telling workers to prepare themselves for a strike but his counterparts in Cosatu say any mass action would be a catastrophe for the state.