Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu has appealed to labour unions that have left the public sector wage negotiations at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council to return to the table.

Government, he said, respects all the unions represented at the chamber.

Addressing the media virtually on Monday, Mchunu said government is doing everything in its power to have the matter resolved amicable.

“We want to appeal to them to reconsider their decisions. We have a country to run, at any given time we have to find a way to find one another,” he said.

Mchunu assured public servants that their jobs are secured and that there will be no salary cuts.

Government is offering 1.5 percent increase and the unions are demanding a consumer price index (CPI) increase, which is projected at 3.1%, plus 4% across the board on the cost-of-living adjustment.

“Government is trying its best in these difficult financial conditions. We would like to urge all the unions to consider what we are offering now, this is a reasonable offer,” Mchunu said, adding that there are no conditions attached to the offer.

Government and Organised Labour in Council are trying to resolve the impasse through the constitutionally recognised process of collective bargaining.

In April this year, talks between the government and the unions resumed at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council for the State’s negotiators to respond to workers’ demands.

There are eight unions representing 1.2 million State employees in national and provincial government departments. These are Nehawu, Denosa, Hospersa, Naptosa, Popcru, PSA, Sadtu and Sapu.

The Public Servant Association has opted not to participate in the ongoing facilitation process and has resorted to making public statements which are neither responsible nor constructive and not in the interests of the public servants in the public service.

In April, Mchunu announced that government had appointed an independent facilitator to ensure that negotiations succeed.

At the time, Mchunu urged both government and the unions involved in the negotiations to go beyond “demands” and arrive at solutions.

Source: South African Government News Agency