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Public sector unions shun govt request to forego salary hike court hearings

Unions filed a dispute in the labour court months ago after the government reneged on a wage agreement with workers that was meant to be implemented back in April.

FILE: Striking Cosatu members in Pretoria on 7 October 2020. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Public sector trade unions have turned down government’s request to return to the negotiating table and forego Wednesday’s court hearing on salary hikes.

Unions filed a dispute in the labour court months ago after the government reneged on a wage agreement with workers that was meant to be implemented back in April.

READ MORE: Govt appeals to unions to back postponement of wage hike court hearing

But on the eve of the hearing, government wrote to the workers’ representatives saying it would table a settlement offer.

In its letter on Tuesday, government said it was exploring the possibility of settling the wage dispute with all unions at the Public Sector Coordinating Bargaining Council.

However, the five public sector unions involved in the court case have poured cold water over this suggestion.

ALSO READ: Cut politicians' salaries instead of freezing public servants' increases

They point out that to date, there’s been no formal settlement offer despite approaching government on 20 November asking for one.

They further challenge government’s contention that there’s a realistic prospect of resolving the dispute adding in their reply to state attorneys that this is inaccurate.

The Public Servants Association, Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union and the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union joined others in applying to the Labour Court in June after it became apparent that the state would not increase workers’ salaries despite having agreed to do so in 2018.

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