Public service unions vow to return to the picket lines in Feb

Wage talks soured in 2022 when at least seven public service unions failed to convince the government to concede to their demand for a 10% wage increase.

PSA members during a march in Pretoria on Tuesday, 22 November 2022. Picture: Jacques Nelles/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African government is facing renewed threats of a full-blown strike after almost 10 public service unions vowed to return to the picket lines in February.

Unions affiliated with the federations Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) still want a 10% increase in their 2022 wages despite the government's decision to unilaterally implement a 3% increase during the 2022 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement.

The Department of Public Service and Administration snubbed further negotiations, angering workers.

READ: Public service unions differ on fight over wages

Speaking at a media briefing in Centurion on Thursday afternoon, the president of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa), Simon Hlungwani, issued a stern warning to the government.

"Our standpoint is to demonstrate the seriousness with which we take the government’s concerted effort to underplay the role and significance of collective bargaining and the signed agreements that bind parties."

Hlungwani added the unions will issue the Department of Public Service and Administration with a notice for strike action next week.

"Firstly, our negotiators are not going to participate in any activity of the PSCBC up until the 2022/2023 dispute is resolved. We have already started engaging our members to revive the mandate, mobilise and ballot them for the strike action.”

READ: Cosatu, Fedusa & Saftu plan another national wage strike