Govt hopeful of amicable labour solution

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pretoria - Government says it remains committed to finding an amicable solution with public sector labour unions to end a wage dispute.

The two parties reached a deadlock in the salary negotiations which started in May this year, and on Wednesay night, trade union federation Cosatu affiliated public service unions and the Independent Labour Caucus, representing 14 unions and approximately 1.3 million employees of the state, declared a dispute citing the "employer's intransigence and inability to meet the demands of Labour."

Government is offering public servants a 6.5 percent salary increase and a maximum of R620 on housing allowances to be effective from 1 July. However, the unions are unhappy with the offer saying the employer is "totally out of touch with the reality of the existing conditions in the country."

Addressing media on Thursday, Special Advisor to the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Randall Howard, said he was hopeful that an amicable solution would be reached with the unions.

"We have been committed in the negotiations and we will remain committed," he said.

"It is regrettable that the unions declared a dispute, but we are hopeful that we will find an amicable solution."

"The employer calls on all public servants to support all processes that will result in finding an amicable negotiated settlement as we all prepared to support Bafana Bafana in the first ever FIFA World Cup hosted by our country," he said.

The labour unions adjusted their initial demand of an 11 percent general salary increase to 8.6 percent and R1000 for a monthly housing allowance, as opposed to their fist offer of R1 650.

Despite the unions having declared a dispute with the employer, the two parties had agreed that there would be no strike action during the World Cup.