The Public Servants Association (PSA) will be embarking on a national strike on Thursday, over government’s decision to unilaterally implement a 3% wage hike this month for public servants after wage negotiations deadlocked.
However, government says it has put measures in place to mitigate the impact of the strike.
Public service strike
The PSA represents 235 000 members in the public sector and is demanding 6.5% in wage increases. It said its nationwide action will be supported by its sister unions affiliated with the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa).
This will be the first major Public-Service strike since 2010.
Thursday’s strike is expected to have a serious impact on the activities of the departments of home affairs and transport as well as South Africa border controls.
The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) is the only union that has accepted government’s 3% wage offer.
The PSA issued the union’s strike notice on 24 October, after a deadlock was reached in salary negotiations following government’s offer of a 3% increase and discontinuation of the cash gratuity after 31 March 2023.
The union said government’s decision to unilaterally implement the 3% wage increase this month has angered its members and it will intensify its efforts to protect public servants’ rights and interests.
“The PSA has demanded a revised offer of a 6.5% increase and the continuation of the cash gratuity beyond 31 March 2023.
“Public servants, like other employees and taxpayers, are feeling the severe effects of major price increases for fuel, transport, and food as well as interest rate hikes.
“The cash gratuity, which is not pensionable and thus not an ultimate solution, assisted public servants, and if retained beyond March 2023, will further assist public servants who have not received a salary increase for the past three years,” the PSA said in a statement.
The PSA warned the unilateral decision by government will have a serious impact on how negotiations will be conducted in the public sector in the future.
“This irresponsible action has further damaged the already fragile relations and severe trust deficit between government and unions.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Public Service and Administration said that it noted the PSA’s plans to embark on a national march on Thursday.
The department said in a statement it had put measures in place to mitigate the impact of the industrial action.
It added that picketing by workers can only take place during lunch hours or tea breaks outside the premises of the employer.
“All provisions related to the management of employees participating in the protected strike shall apply.”