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Unions buckling under pressure over public servants’ wage demands

In a pre-emptive unprecedented move, unions on Monday revealed they had tabled demands including an inflation plus 4% wage increase at the Public Sector Coordinating Bargaining Council.

FILE: Members of the Public Servants Association (PSA) protest in Pretoria. Picture: Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Union insiders have told Eyewitness News that the decision by public-sector unions to publicly share details of this year’s wage demands was a desperate move to appear active to disgruntled members who were resigning in droves.

In a pre-emptive unprecedented move, unions on Monday revealed they had tabled demands including an inflation plus 4% wage increase at the Public Sector Coordinating Bargaining Council.

Public sector unions have been struggling for relevance among members since their failure to overturn government’s decision to pull out of last year’s wage agreement.

MORE: Wage demands informed by research of govt salary hikes - public sector unions

While ordinarily, contents of their plans ahead of the pre-negotiations phase would be kept secret, union leaders fielded media interviews defending their demands.

Eyewitness News understands the move was well coordinated as unions buckle under pressure.

The Public Servants Association’s Reuben Maleka said the over inflation demands, which were submitted to council were also considerate of their failure to secure increases last year.

“We believe that the employers have to come, open their books and share with us and we are willing to listen and mandate members so that there is a resolution come 1 April.”

READ: Public sector trade unions demand CPI plus 4% as final wage demand submitted

The unions have surprisingly also included a demand seeking parties to commit to following through on wage agreements while the matter over last year’s increases is due to be heard in the Constitutional Court.

Government plans to cut the public sector wage bill by over R300 billion over the next three years.

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