Public sector unions to meet to consider govt's latest wage talks proposal

Government made no new offers to workers but did suggest a new approach.

FILE: Workers protest as public sector unions seek to strike a wage deal. Picture: Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News has reliably learnt that public sector trade union leaders will be meeting on Tuesday to consider a new proposal from government on how to approach negotiations.

Government officials met with labour at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) on Monday night in an attempt to break the deadlock in the wage talks.

Government made no new offers to workers but did suggest a new approach.

Sources taking part in the negotiations told Eyewitness News that government has proposed that independent mediators be brought in to facilitate the talks.

It's not a brand new approach, in fact, it's the same strategy that government and unions used to break negotiation impasses in 2010 and 2018.

As happened in 2018, Eyewitness News learnt that the Public Servants Association wanted to declare a dispute and move on to conciliation.

Other unions disagreed, saying that sitting through a conciliation process when the government was still offering workers 0% salary increases would be a futile exercise.

They also warned that a commissioner considering a strike application would question why labour turned down an option to continue discussions with the employer.

A way forward will be charted during Tuesday’s labour caucus meeting which includes all public sector unions with representation at the PSCBC.

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