The Congress of South African Trade Unions is offering its full support to all its public service unions and public servants in general in their continued fight in defense of collective bargaining at the Constitutional Court. On Tuesday the 24th of August 2021, the Constitutional Court will hear the case that has been making its way into the judicial system over government’s decision to renege on honouring the binding collective agreement that was signed at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council( PSCBC) in 2018.
The Federation finds its regrettable that the lack of political will and leadership has resulted in this case being decided by the Constitutional Court. A people centered democratic government should have ensured that this matter is speedily resolved and not outsourced it to the courts. The matter of salary increases, and the implementation of binding agreements should not have been allowed to remain unresolved for over two years.
This confirms our assertion that that this administration is proving to be an unreliable partner on matters that involve public servants, as shown by their attempt to exclude them from the planned pension withdrawal scheme. Government negotiated in bad faith in 2018 and they are using public servants as political scapegoats to hide their overall mismanagement of the economy.
The Federation is unwavering in its commitment to defend collective bargaining ,and working with its affiliated unions, it will pursue all avenues including the legal route. We still call on the 6th administration to provide leadership by intervening and resolving this unnecessary dispute. It must honour the agreement it signed with workers because this is poisoning relations and will result in labour instability going forward.
Workers will never allow themselves to be cheated out of their hard-won gains. We retain those rights that we are ready to defend, and we lose those that we do not fight for. If we do not defend the right to collectively bargain, we will be forced to individually beg ,as workers.
The struggle to defend collective bargaining will be intensified with our campaigns committee, currently, working with all our unions to prepare for a day of action on the 07th of October 2021, the International Action Day for Decent Work.
We call on all workers to remain battle ready to push back against this anti-worker neoliberal offensive that is directed at them both in the public and private sector. They must treasure their unity, consolidate their cooperation, and avoid being divided by narrow sectarian differences.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (COSATU National Spokesperson)