Wednesday, June 13, 2007

PUBLIC SERVICE STRIKE

The following memorandum is being submitted to government offices today by the public service trade unions.

Memorandum in support of the demands of labour in the public service co-ordinating bargaining council


Trade Unions representing South Africa's more than one million public service workers tabled collectively their demands on wages and improvement in conditions of service in October 2006. Public service workers are saying that they:


  • Refuse to accept wage increases linked to inflation that results in no real wage increase over the last 10 years
  • Condemn the insistence of the Employer to commit salary negotiations over a multi-term period commencing each year on 1 July
  • Reject the continued stance of the Employer to keep salaries within a sixteen notch system linked to performance whilst the state lacks capacity amongst its officials to implement any performance management system
  • Are frustrated by the state to use the collective bargaining process to advocate their own medical aid scheme thereby discriminating the benefit of Medical Aid to all workers
  • Need to have access to home ownership which has been denied as a result of the ever widening gap between poor salaries and the high cost of housing
  • Cannot operate in a system where vacancies remain unfilled, thereby increasing the number of casual workers, over a long period of time
  • Deplore the issuing of dismissal notices to workers involved in the strike, which is clearly a provocative attempt to intimidate workers into returning to work.

    Unions collectively are further saying that the refusal by the State to conclude Minimum Service level agreements for public service workers deemed as essential service over a number of years is tantamount to denying these workers a right to strike as entrenched in the constitution of the country and the right to fight for the general improvement in their conditions of service and divide them amongst fellow workers. Not willing to conclude the MSA denies our constitutional right to strike. Accordingly we are calling on the government to sign minimum service agreements
    with the unions immediately so that no hospital is left unmanned during the strike.

    Public service workers are unanimously rejecting, as out of hand, the assertions by the Minister of Public Service and Administration that the state is committed to negotiations and improving overall conditions of service. She further alludes to wanting to workshop unions on the offer currently on the table. Unions are saying that the recent utterances of the Minister is ill informed as the state has never put a comprehensive offer on the table inclusive of all details. In addition the leadership and members of unions are constantly appraised by their representatives on the content and process of issues for negotiations. A call to workshop is undermining and demeaning.

    Public Service Employees are therefore demanding:

    • A 10% salary increase over a single term commencing on the 01 April of each year
    • A reduction in the number of notches in the pay progression system & de-linking from performance
    • Increase the Employer contribution in Medical Aid to be in line with the Medical price consumer index and desist from forcing employees onto GEMS
  • Ensure that the home owner allowance is brought in line with a home value of R300 000
  • Fill all vacant substantive posts with immediate effect and create vacancies
    to meet the demand of the public service
  • The closing of the wage gap by collapsing level 1 and 2 into level 3
  • The immediate withdrawal of all notices of dismissal issued to workers involved
    in the strike.

    Unions have vowed continue their strike until these demands are met. Concurrently they are indicating that they are willing to return to the negotiating table at any time should the state be willing to drastically improve its current offer of 6.5%.
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