Talk of 'political meeting' to end deadlocked public sector wage negotiations

Sources close to the negotiations have told Eyewitness News that while ordinarily “talks about talks” will be held between Cosatu and its tripartite alliance partner the ANC, other interventions are being explored this year.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News understands that there are talks of a “political meeting” to discuss the deadlock of the public sector wage negotiations.

The government is grasping at straws to quell the tension with workers’ representatives after talks came to an abrupt end on Friday when labour rejected its offer.

Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu has even appealed to members of the public to forward proposals on how the stalemate can be broken.

READ: Mchunu asks South Africans to help with public service wage negotiations

Sources close to the negotiations have told Eyewitness News that while ordinarily “talks about talks” will be held between Cosatu and its tripartite alliance partner the ANC, other interventions are being explored this year.

Ministers of the concerned government departments are said to be in talks with trade union leaders to arrange side talks.

The government went into the negotiations with a near empty purse – and a mandate to cut the wage bill which was inevitably going to make the negotiations hard.

The talks were also complicated by the ongoing legal battle between unions and the government after the latter refused to hike salaries last year – the matter will be heard in the Constitutional Court in August.

Among other proposed resolutions by government is for the sector to hold a summit or conference where the demands by labour will be interrogated at length.

Cosatu has described this as “too late” as such talks should ordinarily take place at least two years ahead of negotiations.

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