Govt tables 4.5% wage hike offer for public servants to end impasse with unions

Trade unionists who spoke to Eyewitness News said that labour was willing to revise its demands in the light of government’s move.

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JOHANNESBURG - Trade unions and the government have made headway in ongoing wage negotiations.

Eyewitness News understands that government has tabled a 4.5% wage increase based on its available budget of 20.5%.

This is a major move from the initial 0% offer which government tabled weeks ago in response to unions’ 10% demand among other conditions of service improvements.

Trade unionists who spoke to Eyewitness News said that labour was willing to revise its demands in the light of government’s move.

The 10% wage increase being demanded by public servants as negotiations continue will cost the state R66.5 billion, which it says it doesn’t have.

Other demands include R2,500 for housing allowances and the conversion of contract workers to permanent.

Unionists who were part of Tuesday’s wage negotiations at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council said that they’d sent government negotiators back to look for more money but they are also willing to bend.

The first half of June will determine whether parties can find one another, with a deadlock of talks on the cards if this is not possible.

A deadlock could lead to a strike.