Nehawu, Popcru look to block implementation of new public sector wage deal

On Monday, government managed to secure the support of more unions after Denosa and the Public Servants Association signed the agreement guaranteeing workers a 1.5% pay progression hike and monthly cash allowances of over R1,000 for a year.

FILE: Nehawu members protest for better working conditions on 26 August 2020. Picture: Nehawu AD/Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - Two trade unions representing a significant number of South Africa’s public servants said that they hoped to block the implementation of the new wage agreement in the sector.

On Monday, government managed to secure the support of more unions after Denosa and the Public Servants Association signed the agreement guaranteeing workers a 1.5% pay progression hike and monthly cash allowances of over R1,000 for a year.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), which is the largest organisation in the public sector and the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) have rejected this deal.

But sources have told Eyewitness News that this did not necessarily mean that they would be taking part in a strike.

With their conciliation meeting due this Friday at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council, the unions said that they hoped to overturn the deal.

They maintain that it eroded the ethos of collective bargaining and did not make considerations for government’s non-implementation of the 2018 wage agreement last year.

The 2021/2022 wage deal, which now enjoys majority support, was reached after what government said were the most difficult talks to date.

While it exceeded the compensation ceiling set by Treasury, it would only buy the sector a year of labour peace following a protest over pay last year.

Traditionally, deals are agreed on for a period of three years.

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court will hear the case over the 2018 wage deal next month.

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