2 min read
26 Oct 2022
Umm Muhammed Umar
Civil servants are gearing up for a major national strike for the first time since 2010. This follows one of the country’s largest public sector unions this week having given notice of its intention to strike, after rejecting government’s 3% wage offer. The Public Servants Association says that this will potentially affect service delivery across government departments. COSATU and other unions are now demanding a 10% wage hike. Teachers’ union SADTU, however, has indicated that it will accept the 3% offer. Radio Islam spoke to Khaya Sadodi.
Sadodi said that there was still hope of preventing a crippling strike in the government sector if government come forward with a feasible offer. He said that 10% had been the original demand, and that the unions had reverted to it as government has now removed even the 3 percent offer. So now there was simply “0% on the table, and this is not acceptable.” Sadodi said, “We are willing to negotiate, if we can meet each other halfway.”
SADTU, which had accepted the 3% wage hike, according to Sadodi, was an affiliate of COSATU, as well as a sister union of DENOSA, NEHAWU, and POPCRU. He explained that each union within the Federation of COSATU was free to exercise independence. SADTU had been mandated by its members to accept the 3% wage increase, which COSATU respected.
Regarding which public sectors would most likely be affected, should the strike take place, Sadodi said that health services would be affected, including ambulance and mortuary services. Police services would also be affected, as well as home affairs. He said that government services would largely be affected. however, the education sector would probably remain unaffected, seeing that they were willing to accept the 3% wage offer.
It’s hoped that the strike could be averted. Talks are scheduled to take place on Oct 31 and Nov 1. Unions are already preparing their members, through actions like lunch time picketing. Their will be action on the ground by members on Oct 31, even though it would not be a shutdown of services (as yet). A large scale shut down would depend on the outcome of the negotiations taking place on those two dates.