South Africa: The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) announced in a press conference Tuesday that it will continue to reject a public sector wage agreement with the country’s Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) for what they call a “savage attack on the living standards of public servants.”
The PSCBC, a central bargaining council within the labor market, announced Friday that 65.74 percent of trade unions agreed to salary adjustments and new conditions of service for three years, from 2018/19 to 2020/21, after hitting a deadlock last week.
Trade unions in opposition to the agreement say that a strike will not have the desired impact on labor negotiations and are thus committing to a “campaign on the ground until it is reversed” while outlining the conditions to workers.
“The agreement signed in 2018 is in many respects worse than the 2014-2017 agreement. This agreement overall seeks to make workers pay for an economic crisis they did not create. Those who created the crisis continue to smile to the banks,” the SAFTU press statement read.
SAFTU stated that the agreement does not properly address salary adjustment for inflation, further delays implementing housing allowance laws, lacks a review of medical insurance schemes, and needs to address outstanding demands.
The discussion over public sector wages comes after the National Assembly passed three amendment bills to labor laws on May 29. These bills set a general minimum wage of 20 rand per hour, or approximately US$1.58, but undermine the rights of workers to strike or picket.They also laid out earnings for extended public workers to be 11 rand per hour, 15 rand per hour for domestic workers, and 18 rand per hour for farm workers.
However, Citrus workers, gold miners, and some trade unions have since voiced and organized for higher wages and benefits.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union confirmed demands of the country’s top gold production companies Sunday, including an increase in monthly minimum wage and benefits such as severance pay, longer maternity leave, and a five-day work week instead of the current shift systems.