Public Service and Administration Minister, Senzo Mchunu, says government is committed to collective bargaining and will not undermine this process.
Addressing the media in Pretoria on Thursday, the Minister said the current wage negotiations between government and organised labour have proven to be difficult.
“We ourselves are investing a lot into these negotiations and are expecting a lot from the outcome, doing so in good faith and with the utmost transparency under circumstances where National Treasury has unequivocally told Cabinet that the State has no money, each proposal by either of the parties must be taken seriously, holistically and comprehensively,” said the Minister.
Talks between the government and unions resumed at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council on Thursday for the State’s negotiators to respond to workers’ demands.
There are eight unions representing 1.2 million State employees in national and provincial government departments. They are Nehawu, Denosa, Hospersa, Naptosa, Popcru, PSA, Sadtu and Sapu. They are demanding a consumer price index (CPI), which is projected at 3.1%, plus 4% across the board on the cost-of-living adjustment.
Mchunu said government has appointed an independent facilitator to ensure that negotiations succeed.
“The mandate to him and the team is that they should not take the posture of people who want to win. The country has to win, not government’s team. We need to move away from and avoid separation. There is no ‘us and them’,” Mchunu said.
He urged those currently locked in negotiations to go beyond “demands” and arrive at solutions.
“You need to go beyond demands and arrive at solutions to challenges facing all of us collectively, avoiding confrontation,” Mchunu said.
Mchunu said as government they are quite confident that engagements in the Chamber will close the gap between Government and Labour and will also be in the interest of the public service as a whole and with the citizens in mind.