State offers workers 6.5%
PUBLIC sector unions are not impressed with the government's settlement offer of 6.5% to civil servants.
The offer, which effectively suspended wage negotiations, was signed by government and circulated to unions yesterday.
Department of Public Service and Administration spokesman Dumisani Nkwamba said yesterday that the unions had 21 days to consider the offer.
The Independent Labour Caucus (ILC), which represents independent unions, accused the government of taking a dishonest route instead of negotiating.
"Government has effectively decided to take an unilateral decision to terminate wage negotiations. They hope that the majority of unions will take their offer," said ILC spokesman Chris Klopper.
Should unions reject the offer they would have an option to declare a dispute and should conciliation fail, members could exercise their right to strike.
But Cosatu spokesman Nkosana Dolopi said the labour federation did not regard the government's offer as a final word.
"We will persuade the employer to come back to the negotiation table. Government did the same thing in 2010 and we were in a similar situation, but we managed to dragged government back to the table."
Unions have decreased their demand from the initial 10% to 8%.
Meanwhile, the SA Municipal Workers Union and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union will consult their members on the 6.5% wage increase.
The unions and their employer, the SA Local Government Association (Salga), failed to reach an agreement during negotiations which resumed on Wednesday.
The unions refused to lower their 11.5% demand while Salga stuck to its 4.5% offer.