SAFTU unions in the public service have agreed that they will not sign the Public Service Salary Agreement in its current form. It represents the continuing and protracting assault on workers’ wages; condition of employment and overall living standards, as part of the government’s neoliberal economic agenda.
The unions are holding a press conference today to explain the reasons thereof
The 7% increase itself is not acceptable to workers as it doesn’t demonstrate the government’s own radical stance on economic transformation – considering the 15% VAT, Over and above the general increased costs of living.
The agreement discriminates our level 8-12 members against the rest of the members especially in subsequent years.
The government refuses to include a claw-back clause for CPI change between the actual and the projected. In other words, there is no room for any compensation should the CPI during a specific financial period be higher than projected.
The agreement subject to another torturous three year period of stagnations and degradation than a 1 year agreement as we would have preferred
Further agreement which once again takes away the members rights to Housing Allowance, in that it gives the employer the sole right to design and implement a Permission to Occupy (PTO).
Currently PTOs are being issued by various entities like parents, relatives, chiefs, tribal authorities and the like. What the employer wants to introduce and is being given unfettered powers to do so is to bring in clauses, which will exclude a number of qualifying members. The same goes for this. Not-withstanding the fact that the agreement seeks to fool our members that the government will address issues like the same PTO, Family responsibility.
We are also rejecting the Comprehensive Danger Insurance. Our members need danger allowance to be increased, as we believe that the insurance cover will invariably result in the withdrawal of danger allowance. We cannot agree to taking away of any cent from our members.
We also wish to bring to the attention of the working class that the government is not only seeking to resolve the crisis of capitalism and the crisis of the ANC factional battles have created for society on the back of workers only in the PSCBC, but also in the other state owned enterprises. Eskom has made a final offer of 0% to its workers. PRASA and other state owned enterprises are looking at ways to throw thousands of workers in the streets to resolve crisis not created by workers.
The austerity budget, cuts in real terms expenditures on education, healthcare and other essential services, which are already causing crises in Gauteng, the Free State and especially the North West, provinces add up to a frontal assault on the living standards of the majority of South Africans. And then it burdens the public servants who are overworked and remained poorly paid.
We understand that other unions have agreed to sign this agreement and we belief they do so for not any apparent reasons that is in the interest of workers but for expediency and political opportunism. We call on all public servants to join us in rejection of the agreement; to be vigilant, to unite and most important they must join and organise themselves under the banners of SAFTU Affiliated Unions who will ensure that their interest will be truly served.
We categorically states that this is the last round of negotiations wherein workers in the public services will be insulted in this way again.