Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Source: Xinhua 2018-04-24 23:14:19 

CAPE TOWN, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Seventeen South African trade unions threatened on Tuesday to totally shut down public services if their demand for wage increase is not met.

Led by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the unions accused the government of deliberately delaying the ongoing wage negotiations, which have been deadlocked after the government rejected the unions' demand for a 12-percent across-the-board wage increase for public servants.

"As organized labor unions which are rightfully admitted in the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council on behalf of about 1.3 million public servants, we hereby express our profound disappointment and disbelief at the disdain with which government has approached this financial year's wage negotiations," the unions said in a joint statement.

Talks began in September last year and until Tuesday hardly any progress has been recorded, according to the statement.

On Tuesday, the Department of Public Services and Administration requested a further postponement of the negotiations until May 3 this year.

Acting Minister of Public Service and Administration Naledi Pandor has endorsed the postponement and announced the decision without engaging the unions.

"We view this as anti-union behavior and a total disregard for the country's hard-earned collective bargaining rights for workers," the unions said.

"All the 17 unions have decided that enough is enough. We've had enough of the delaying tactics of the employer," said Public Sector Union Representative Mugwena Maluleke.

The unions announced that from May 3, workers in the public sector under the 17 unions will embark on daily pickets in the workplaces as a precursor to the total shutdown of public services on all fronts should a wage settlement fail to be reached.

"We hope the community will understand the position that we as labor unions have been driven to by the employer and appeal to their support and solidarity in calling on government to come back to the negotiation table before public services are brought to a standstill," the unions said.

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