The DPSA on Friday 16 April 2015 issued a communique on the wage negotiations to all government employees. In the communique the Department indicates that the Independent Labour Caucus (ILC) in the PSCBC, of which NAPTOSA is a member, reviewed its wage demand to 8,5%. NAPTOSA believes that this was disingenuous of the Employer and that the Employer failed to put the matter into perspective.
As members will recall the trade unions in the PSCBC jointly tabled an initial wage demand of 15% for the 2015/16 financial year. This demand was later revised to 10% in the negotiation process. The employer’s last offer, in reaction to the 10% demand, was 5,8% after it had made previous offers of 5%, 5,8%, 4,8% and 5%. The Employer also indicated its preference for a 3-year agreement, offering projected CPI + 0,5% for 2016/17 and 2017/18.
Following a stalemate in the negotiations, the Employer declared a dispute which took the parties into a conciliation process. Two days of conciliation meetings saw no movement from the side of the Employer in terms of an improved wage offer. In order to prompt the Employer to do so, Labour on day 3 of the conciliation process offered to consider a multi-term (3 year) agreement by demanding the following:
• 2015/16 - 10%
• 2016/17 - CPI + 3%
• 2017/18 - CPI + 3%
This position of Labour still failed to move the Employer. In an attempt to test the Employer’s reaction to a revised wage demand, the ILC indicated to the Employer that it was prepared, on a “no prejudice” basis (in other words not officially), to consider amending its demand to 8,5%. The Employer’ reaction was to indicate that it required the position of all the unions before it would be prepared to indicate whether it was prepared to consider an improved offer.
The DPSA’s communique therefore inaccurately indicates that the ILC has revised its wage demand. All discussions in a conciliation process is on a “no prejudice” basis until such time as a party puts forward an official position, which the ILC in this case did not do.