Public service unions reach wage settlement

Tuesday, September 8, 2009
By: 
Edwin Tshivhidzo

Pretoria - Major public service unions have reached a wage agreement with government which would see civil servants getting salary increments of between 13 percent and 10 percent on a sliding scale.

The agreement, to be implemented from 1 July 2009, will see public servants on salary levels 1-3 receiving a 13 percent salary increase, levels 4-6 will receive a 12 percent increase, levels 7-8 will receive 11 percent, levels 9-10 will receive 10.5 percent and levels 11 and 12 will receive a 10 percent increase.

All unions, except for the Public Service Association (PSA), signed the agreement on Monday.

Labour had initially asked for an adjustment of 15 percent which the government countered with 8.5 percent. Further negotiations however led to both parties agreeing to an average of 11.5 percent.

The parties further agreed to embark on a comprehensive review of the remuneration policy, benefits and allowance system within the Public Service.

According to Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) General Secretary Shamira Huluman, the signing of the agreement was a watershed and landmark achievement and a victory for collective bargaining.

"Through the commitment of parties to constructive engagements and continuous dialogue, the agreement was reached expeditiously.

"The state as employer and the majority of public service unions have demonstrated a commitment to improving the conditions of public service employees and maintaining labour peace in the country," Huluman said.

National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU), the second biggest public service union, welcomed the new wage agreement.

"The agreement is an achievement and a victory for the union because it delivered on the mandate from the members of a double-digit wage increase backdated to 1 July 2009," the union said