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'Refusal to implement wage deal calls for strike'

Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini questioned the intention of those refusing to implement the wage deal.

FILE: Around 10,000 people are marching through the Pretoria city centre this hour calling for better wages in the public sector on 23 April 2015. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) president Sidumo Dlamini says government's refusal to implement a seven percent wage deal signed with public sector unions is a provocation to call a strike.

Dlamini on Wednesday addressed the first day of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) Congress in Boksburg.

He spent most of his speech attacking Numsa and his former colleague Zwelinzima Vavi.

The unions, Independent Labour Caucus (ILC) and the Department of Public Service and Administration met to discuss the disagreement.

It's based on workers being paid 0,6 percent extra over the last three years.

But Dlamini has questioned the intention of those refusing to implement the seven percent deal.

"It can only be people who want public servants to go on a strike for whatever reason they have. So we are saying to our government, please if you want to take us back don't use workers of this country to achieve that."

WAGE DEAL SIGNED

Meanwhile, the ILC says a wage deal signed with government will bring about a new housing allowance structure and the last meeting was characterised by a sense of relief.

The ILC represents government workers outside the Cosatu.

It sought R1,500, but it's understood a deal for a R1,200 allowance could be accepted by the unions.

It signed the deal on 20 May and says the additional 3 percent allocated to medical aid increases has made the seven percent wage hike acceptable.

Chairperson of the ILC Basil Manuel said this time everybody wanted to see something concrete come out of the talks.

Government workers have won a seven percent wage hike over the next three years after prolonged talks which saw them initially demand 15 percent.

The breakthrough was achieved after the state increased its medical aid contribution from 25 to 28.5 percent.

After a week of canvassing among their members in a strike ballot by the Public Servants Association, Cosatu chief negotiator Mugwena Maluleke said workers have accepted the wage offer.

"Generally the seven percent has been accepted but there is some work that needs to be done on the medical aid and on the housing."

But he said benefits in the agreement have not yet been finalised.

"They are on the verge of signing."

Transnet has also agreed to a three year wage increase with labour unions representing its non managerial staff.

On Tuesday night the railway company and transport unions agreed on a raise of seven to 8.25 percent until 2018.