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PSCBC: No regulation that allows govt to renege on wage agreement

Confronted with an unprecedented situation, the PSCBC said that based on the provisions contained in the Labour Relations Act, the council did not have a process in place allowing parties to withdraw from the agreement.

FILE: Cosatu members strike against the country's high unemployment and the unbundling of Eskom on 13 February 2019. Picture: @_cosatu/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) said there was no regulation in law that allowed the government to renege on a wage agreement with civil servants.

In an interview with Eyewitness News, the council’s general secretary Frikkie de Bruin detailed the process that follows the standoff between the state and its 1.3 million employees after the employer tabled a proposal to review a clause in the 2018 wage agreement.

Confronted with an unprecedented situation, the PSCBC said that based on the provisions contained in the Labour Relations Act, the council did not have a process in place allowing parties to withdraw from the agreement.

On the eve of the budget speech last month, the Department of Public Service and Administration tabled a review of clause 3.3 of the 2018 wage agreement, which adjusted workers’ salaries by between 5.5% and 4.5%.

Labour unions rejected the proposal.

As the 1 April implementation date approached, even the PSCBC was concerned about the standoff as De Bruin explained: “The employer may dishonour the agreement and not pay.”

Section 23 of the Labour Relations Act stated that a collective agreement bound all parties to it for the whole period of the collective agreement.