Public sector unions mull way forward after rejecting govt's latest wage offer

The latest deal suggests that over one million public servants should be paid a once-off pensionable salary adjustment of at least 1.5%and monthly non-pensionable cash allowances of up to R1,695.

FILE: Workers protest as public sector unions seek to strike a wage deal on 19 May 2015. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The majority of trade unions in the public sector are yet to decide on the way forward after rejecting the government's latest proposed agreement on salary adjustments.

The latest deal suggests that over one million public servants should be paid a once-off pensionable salary adjustment of at least 1.5%and monthly non-pensionable cash allowances of up to R1,695.

Eyewitness News understands that the majority of unions disagreed with the proposed wage settlement as it failed to lift the salary baseline of workers.

Many of the unions including the biggest organisation in the sector – Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)-affiliated National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) – were also still complaining that workers did not receive salary increases last year.

READ: Majority public sector unions reject govt's latest wage offer

Other details included in the proposed agreement, which Eyewitness News has seen, include a biennial pay progression of 3% which will apply to employees who qualify in terms of sectoral agreements.

The payments would be split by payments of 1.5% between this year and 2022.

Sources involved in the talks have said the only unions that agreed to the terms contained in the proposal were South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), Health & Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) and National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa).

This means unions including the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), Public Servants Association (PSA), South African Policing Union (Sapu), and Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) rejected the deal.

Unions were initially demanding 7% wage hikes.

Meanwhile, the national treasury has warned that the proposed wage settlement would cost about R20 billion- blowing the compensation ceiling.

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