Cosatu talking to its members
Ido Lekota and Sapa
Ido Lekota and Sapa
No deal was struck between striking public service unions and government yesterday.
Union representatives said last night that there would be no deal until at least Wednesday.
Cosatu president Willie Madisha said unions needed more time to consult members on the government's final offer.
The next labour caucus was scheduled for 7pm on Wednesday at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) in Centurion.
The strike, involving teachers, nurses and other government employees is now in its 21st day.
But the unions have 21 days from the official 7,5percent offer tabled last week to decide on the offer made by the government.
Yesterday representatives of the public sector unions involved in the strike refused to attend a meeting called by Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi.
All the unions involved in the strike met at the PSCBC offices yesterday to discuss the government's offer, and to discuss Fraser-Moleketi's call for a meeting.
"As unions involved in the strike we agreed that we can only meet the minister if she has an improved offer to put on the table," said a union official.
Yesterday general secretary of the PSCBC Shamira Huluman confirmed that the unions have 21 days to consider the government's offer.
"If after 21 days a 51percent majority of the unions have not accepted the offer then the offer falls off the table," said Huluman.
One of the options will be for the government to put a new offer on the table or give notice that it would implement the offer unilaterally.
Insiders have revealed that independent unions like the Public Service Association were keen to take up the government's offer.
Their concern is about the nurses who have been fired.
"They feel that the 7,5percent offer combined with an undertaking to reinstate the fired nurses is something they can accept," said a union official.
There have been indications that Sadtu would not sign a mandate for the 7,5percent increase.
Sadtu makes up 23percent of Cosatu membership in the PSCBC.
All in all, Cosatu makes up 56percent of the public service labour force. If Sadtu does not sign it means Cosatu will have to garner an 18percent support from the rest of the unions involved in the strike.