04 July 2020
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) and its affiliated public sector unions, HOSPERSA, NAPTOSA, PSA, SAOU, SAPTU and UNIPSAWU are shocked by a communication received from the State Attorney’s Office, requesting for an extension to reply to the answering affidavit filed collectively in the wage dispute between the cited parties. Another deliberate delaying tactic by Government that demonstrates their lack of appreciation for the very backbone of South Africa’s management of the COVID 19 pandemic.
The PSCBC Resolution 1 of 2018 made provision for a three – year multi term agreement on the salary adjustments and the improvements to condition of service for public servants in the financial years 2018\19, 2019\20, and 2020\21. Clause 3.3 of the Resolution deals with the salary adjustments, percentages, and the projected CPI in relation to the 2020\21 financial year.
The Department of Public Service and Administration is bound by an agreement regulating the salary adjustments and improvements on conditions of service in the public service for the period 2018/2019, 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, as incorporated in Resolution 1 of 2018 of the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council.
In terms of clause 3.3. of the Resolution, it was agreed that with effect from 1 April 2020, and until 31 March 2021, the salary adjustments for employees on salary levels 1-12 will be as follows:
“Level 1 to 7: Projected CPI +1.0%
Level 8 to 10: Projected CPI + 0.5%; and
Level 11 to 12: Projected CPI”
Pursuant to protracted discussions, the Department has indicated to the signatory trade unions, that they do not intend to implement and will be reneging on the agreed salary adjustments contained in the Resolution for the financial year 2020/2021 as they do not have the financial resources to honour the agreement. They have tabled a new modality which is contrary to the provisions of the PSCBC Resolution 1 of 2018 as stated above.
As previously reported in the federation’s Media Statement of 05 June 2020, FEDUSA’s affiliated unions instructed its lawyers to approach the Labour Court to enforce the Collective Agreement. A Case number was received from the Labour Court (J 500/20) and the founding affidavit was filed on all parties.
It is clear that the Labour Court Rules allow for 10 days for the respondents to file answering affidavits to the founding affidavit and the due date for such answering affidavits is 01 July 2020. Unfortunately on the 29th of June 2020, the legal Counsel representing the applicants received a letter from the State Attorney requesting an extension until the 17th of July 2020, to file its answering affidavit on behalf of the sixth respondent, Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni. The reasons provided relates to the public finance and the macro economic issues which they need to consult on.
While we completely understand the dire financial and economic crisis that the country currently finds itself in, it is equally important to keep in mind that nurses, doctors, essential health care workers, teachers, security officers and officials who are responsible for the disbursement of much-needed relief funds are all within the cohort of public servants fighting the growing threat of the COVID attack. “Essentially our fight is not against government, but rather for these public heroes standing in the frontlines between ordinary South Africans and a destructive enemy.” Said an impassioned FEDUSA General Secretary, Riefdah Ajam. “All we are trying to do is ensure that government gets on the side of our heroes too”, she pleaded.
In that vein, FEDUSA unions have agreed to the extension until the 17th of July 2020 and remain hopeful that Government will display the same level of courtesy and introspect in realising the value that the public servants contribute, in a developmental state.
For interviews please contact:
Ms Riefdah Ajam FEDUSA General Secretary 079 696 2626
Mr Noel Desfontaines HOSPERSA General Secretary 071 890 0134
Mr Basil Manuel NAPTOSA Executive Director 079 508 6228
Mr Leon Gilbert PSA Acting General Manager 082 883 7239
Mr Chris Klopper SAOU Executive Director 083 708 7733
Adv Ben ban der Walt SAPTU General Secretary 083 260 8545
Mr Elias Bila UNIPSAWU President 082 690 1982
FEDUSA Media and Research Officer
072 637 8096