Cosatu public sector unions, Nxesi meet in bid to prevent deadlock over wages

With many union leaders saying there is no appetite for a strike in the public service given the losses workers would incur amid the cost of living crisis, the meeting with Nxesi was meant to find a political solution to their differences with government in the negotiations.

FILE: Acting Public Service and Administration Minister Thulas Nxesi. Picture: @thensgZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News can reveal that Cosatu’s public sector unions met with Acting Public Service and Administration Minister Thulas Nxesi on Thursday night to try and prevent a looming stalemate over wage increases.

On Friday morning, unions will officially table workers’ rejection of a 2% wage hike offer by government.

Instead, they want at least 4% and would settle at the 3%, which was the rate of salary adjustments for public office bearers, including ministers earlier this year.

With many union leaders saying there is no appetite for a strike in the public service given the losses workers would incur amid the cost of living crisis, the meeting with Nxesi was meant to find a political solution to their differences with government in the negotiations.

However, sources said that they left the meeting empty-handed as a formal mandate from government leaders was yet to be sought when the rejection is tabled at a council meeting on Friday.

The wage talks have been taking place for months now, having deadlocked once when government came to the table with a zero percent wage offer.

Treasury has made it clear that it cannot move from the R20.5 million budget allocation for the hikes for this year.

It added that there was no space in the fiscus to try and source more funds.

Eyewitness News has seen communication that spells out the unanimous rejection of the 2% offer by public sector workers across the board.

Insiders complained about how the figure will not cushion workers from the effects of the 7.4% inflation rate as recorded in June.

Unions initially demanded 10% hikes but brought the figure down to 6.5% in recent weeks.