National News/ 06 October 2022, 14:30pm/ Staff Writer
Sadtu logo:image union’s website
By Staff Writer: The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) says it has resolved to accept government’s 3% wage increase offer in the public service wage talks.
According to Sadtu spokesperson Nomusa Cembi, the union agreed to the 3% wage increase, potentially breaking ranks with other Cosatu-aligned unions.
However Cembi said, “Sadtu has agreed to the offer but has not signed.” Cembi did not provide any reasons for Sadtu’s position.
Currently, government is offering a 3% pensionable increase across the board, the continuation of the current non-pensionable cash allowance of R1 000 at all salary levels, and a 1.5% pay progression payable to all qualifying employees.
Meanwhile, Cosatu-affiliate the Police, Prisons, and Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has rejected the 3% offer and threatened to go on strike to secure a 10% increase.
The Public Servants’ Association (PSA), the largest non-politically affiliated union in the country, is finalising picketing rules and will serve the employer with notice of an intention to strike next week if no progress is made in the talks.
PSA spokesperson Claude Naicker said the PSA was focused on finalising picketing rules by next Tuesday, adding that if nothing changes in the negotiations, they will serve the employer with notice of intention to strike.
“Sadtu themselves confirmed that … they intend to sign that agreement. The PSA has mandated membership and members have outright rejected the offer, as the cash gratuity ends on 31 March,” said Naicker.
Naicker said the PSA wanted the cash gratuity to either be incorporated into the basic salary of public servants or for it to be extended to the 2022/23 financial year or until such time that a new wage deal is signed.
“We need a protection clause that says if we don’t sign an agreement next [year], that cash gratuity must be extended. The employer is saying that [the] cash gratuity will end in March and we think members [will feel this] in [their] pocket,” Naicker said.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana and Acting Minister of Public Service and Administration Thulas Nxesi said the government was committed to ensuring that the next public service wage deal was sustainable, warning that a 10% wage hike would cost the government R49 billion.
The two ministers released a detailed joint statement on Wednesday, maintaining that above-inflation hikes to public servants’ salaries would leave less money to increase the headcount in critical frontline services such as nursing.