Members will recall that the employer initially tabled a 0% salary increase offer for the next three years and that labour intended to declare a dispute on 4 May 2021. On 3 May 2021, the employer requested a Special Council meeting to appoint a facilitator in an attempt to bring parties closer together.
On 16 May 2021, the employer tabled an offer of a monthly non-pensionable cash gratuity of R978.00 for the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, and a once-off 1.5% adjustment of the pensionable salary to all employees employed in the Public Service on 1 July 2021, including those who would not qualify for pay progression in the 2020/21- performance cycle.
Labour agreed to embark on a consultation process with the broader membership in the various constituencies for a period of 14 days. On 8 June 2021, the facilitation process resumed. Labour consolidated their mandates but as some unions had not finalised their consultation processes, it was agreed that they be afforded a two-week extension.
It must be noted that Unions conducted a survey and members’ view was that Unions must reject the current offer and attempt to negotiate a better offer. On 9 June 2021, unions tabled an increased demand of R1 500 for the monthly gratuity (an increase on the initial offer of R978). The employer will seek a mandate and return to bargaining on 25-26 June 2021.
Members are reminded that the cost of living adjustment (COLA) is just one aspect of labour’s demands. In total, labour had tabled 16 demands including inter alia, an increase of the housing allowance to R2 500 per month. Other demands are related to the Government Employees Housing Scheme, Government Employees Medical Scheme, Occupation Health and Safety, Fixed-term contracts, child-care facilities, bursaries for children of public servants, etc.
A lot of work has been done with the other demands and draft collective agreements have been developed. Unions are hopeful that the COLA will be concluded during the next engagement on 25-26 June 2021. Members will be updated on developments.