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STATEMENT BY MR BASIL MANUEL, CHAIRPERSON OF THE INDEPENDENT LABOUR CAUCUS, REGARDING THE WAGE DISPUTE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE: 2 APRIL 2015

“The intransigence of the State as Employer reached an all-time high yesterday when the Employer served copies of its dispute referral (regarding the wage negotiations) on the trade unions in the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC)” said Mr Basil Manuel, Chairperson of the Independent Labour Caucus (ILC) on Wednesday. What made it even harder to swallow is that this was on the very day of the major petrol price hike. “What does the Employer expect the employees of the State to make of this – a poor wage offer and looming price increases”, asked Mr Manuel.

After playing yo-yo with its wage offer for the past couple of months the Employer now declares a dispute on the offer that it had agreed the wage negotiations would start from.

The Employer’s wage offer went from 5% to 5,8% to 4,8% to 5% to 5,8 %. “Having agreed in a pre-negotiations meeting that wage negotiations would start from 5,8% as the base, the Employer has come full circle to a point where it has in fact not offered any real improvement in the salaries of employees”, said Mr Manuel.

“Our members are not ignorant. They follow the news and the economic forecasts and know that fuel is much more expensive from today, personal taxes has risen from this financial year, Eskom is requesting a 25% increase in electricity tariffs and inflation will in all likelihood start rising. This does not even speak to tariff hikes looming at local government level. In short, they are facing serious challenges that can only be alleviated if they receive a decent wage increase”, stated Mr Manuel.

He indicated that despite feeling affronted by the Employer’s tactics, the ILC will constructively participate in the conciliation process that is to commence in terms of the PSCBC’s dispute process in the hope of reaching a settlement with the Employer. “I am an optimist and believe that the parties have it in them to reach a positive conclusion in this matter”, said Mr Manuel.

END OF STATEMENT
Enquiries: Mr Basil Manuel - 079 508 6228