COSATU CEC denounces and wholly rejects government’s attempt to renege on implementing the 2018 collective agreement

The Central Executive Committee of COSATU that is currently in session denounces the attempt by the government to review Resolution 1 of 2018 that speaks to the adjustment of public service salaries over three years. A Collective Agreement on the Improvement of Conditions of Service for Public Service was concluded in 2018. This was a multi-term agreement between government(employer) and Public Service Trade Unions within the PSCBC. The employer placed a position paper in the PSCBC today, the 25th of February for the review of this collective agreement.

This review will have seen the non-implementation of this signed agreement, meaning that the hard-working public servants will not see any salary increase for the year 2020/2021. The Federation rejects this proposed move by the government to interfere with the concluded benefits of public servants.

The CEC views this action by the government as a direct attack on collective bargaining which will never be accepted. The 2018 collective agreement must be implemented to its logical conclusion without any contamination of any form.

This irresponsible and blatant act of provocation will seriously destabilise the public service and we warn the government to abandon this idea and give workers what is due to them on the 1st of April 2020.

If the government attempts to smuggle this review in tomorrow’s budget speech, the CEC will regard it as a declaration of war and there will be parting of ways with government going forward. 

This reckless destabilisation of the public service is not informed by the state’s delivery program but is an ideologically driven program aimed at pandering to the rating agencies. This does nothing for staff morale, motivation, and productivity.

The National Treasury’s fixation with cutbacks in public service in the context of continued job shedding in the private sector has severe implications for poverty and unemployment. This reckless approach will cause serious long-term problems for the economy.

This ongoing public service dispute is also a big challenge for the Alliance that needs to demonstrate its effectiveness and go beyond being a crisis manager but proactively drive an agreed transformation agenda. This latest action by the government suggests that beyond broad statements on shared objectives, the Alliance still has limited influence on what happens in government.

Broad agreements on building a capable developmental state appear to have been completely derailed by an agenda targeting the public service driven by technocrats.

If the national democratic revolution is to remain relevant, the working class needs to score some gains and these gains must take the form of a reduction in the rate of exploitation of employed labour. Through its fiscal and monetary policies, the national democratic state must provide an environment within which this goal is achieved. This strategic orientation must find expression in the practice of all government institutions and departments, including the National Treasury. COSATU will not allow the working class to be used as cannon-fodder for the country’s capitalist system to recover from the crisis.

Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

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