POPCRU statement on the developments within Public Service salary negotiations and clarity on the misconceptions by PSA

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) acknowledges the developments of the protracted Public Service salary negotiations that lasted over 8 months.

We wish to categorically state that on the 18th of May 2018, government tabled a revised offer different from that which was offered on the 26 January 2018, and down varied on the 4th of April 2018, resulting in the loss of trust and good faith in negotiations among others.

On the 18th of May 2018, the employer tabled an offer that brought forward the implementation dates for the delinking of payments of housing allowances to spouses employed by the state, alignment of pay progression for categories of employees who qualified for pay progression which is less than 1, 5% per annum, and committing to a process of enhancing benefits of employees on salary levels 1-5 with regard to medical aid and housing within 6 months from the date of signing.

  • Delinking of the payment of Housing allowance from spouses

Currently, only one of the married couple employed by the State qualifies for a Housing allowance. Upon signing of this agreement, both spouses shall qualify for separate housing allowance, starting with employees on salary levels 1-5 with effect from the 1st of September 2018, and 1st September 2019 for employees with salary levels 6-12.

This will effectively do away with the discrimination on the payment of Housing allowances based on a marital status.

  • Alignment of Pay Progression for categories not qualifying for 1, 5% per annum

Currently, most public servants qualify for a 1, 5% pay progression per annum, based on Performance Management Development Systems (PMDS).

The Police currently qualify for 1, 3% spread over a 3-year cycle, while educators qualify for 1% per annum, and this anomaly dates back to 2007.

The signing of this agreement shall ensure the alignment of pay progression of both Police and educators to 1, 5% per annum in line with the rest of the Public Service over a 2-year period, commencing from the current financial year.

  • Enhancement of benefits for lower levels

This agreement further gives priority to a process of enhancing benefits on Housing and Medical Aid for employees on salary levels 1-5 from the date of signing.

  • Where are we now?

Labour, in the Council meeting that took place on the 18th of May 2018, considered the above-mentioned improvements from the employer’s offer, which was tabled on the 26th of January 2018.

Our labour federation COSATU, through the Joint Mandating Committee (JMC), accepted the offer in principle, and agreed that a Council meeting be convened for the 21st of May 2018 to allow parties to sign. Having agreed to sign, POPCRU took into consideration its mandate from consolidated PEC mandates and the NEC, put ink to the dotted line.

We look forward to other trade unions signing the agreement in line with the commitment of labour in Council.

  • On the misconceptions by PSA

We note that the Public Service Association (PSA) has taken as its preoccupation the need to deviate from its core mandate of representing its members by way of scapegoating and labelling, leading to their unfounded, futile and regrettable comments that seek to paint POPCRU as having “sold out” its members.

In setting the record straight and debunking this myth, it is worth noting that POPCRU as a worker-led union has always and will continue utilising appropriate measures in seeking mandates from its members.

It is unprecedented for the PSA to develop a faulty habit to mislead the public and our members on the matter at hand. They have lost all logic in their quest to gain political mileage by seeking to project themselves as progressive representatives of workers in the Public service. They conveniently choose to forget that unions negotiate with the employer, and not with other unions.

In the Council meeting that took place on the 18th of May 2018 when labour tabled their acceptance, the PSA did not reject the offer, as Council records can demonstrate, despite them being in dispute.

In reality, it is the PSA which has never in its existence waged any industrial action, neither has it signed any wage agreement since 2009, therefore riding on the backs of others.

These misguided accusations they are currently championing have absolutely nothing to do with the issues at hand, but are based on its dire need to create popularity for themselves, a kind of popularity that is devoid of any track record in the sphere of fighting issues affecting its membership.

It is also worth noting that their now consistent refusals to signing agreements has nothing to do with getting what is best for workers, but rather on their desperate need to be seen as progressive as a way to attempt to sway workers into their mini-ranks.

In the midst of their venture to discredit us, they should equally speak to the last time they signed anything or called for an industrial action on any matter.

 

Issued by POPCRU on 23/05/2018