Labour tabled their demands on 30 September 2014. The demands in brief were:
• All outstanding matters emanating from previous resolutions are to be addressed and resolved.
• An overall salary increase of 15% percent across the board.
• Single term (one year) agreement
• In the absence of the conclusion of a Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS) agreement, the housing allowance must increase from R900 to R3000 per month.
• Government Employees Medical Aid Scheme, an increase of 28.5% for both GEMS and open scheme members. This must be effective from the 1st January 2015, with the increase to be adjusted on an annual basis based on the average medical aid inflation of the previous year.
• Equalization of subsidies in respect of open medical aid schemes
• Family responsibility leave to include immediate family members and parents-in-law
• 6 months paid maternity leave, and 2 weeks paid paternity leave
• Salary levels 1 to 3 to be compressed and level 4 to be an entry level into the public service
• The State must develop a bursary scheme for public service employees' children
• Effective from 1 January 2016, employees are to be given the right to choose which month of the year their 13th cheque should be paid to them
• 10 days special leave for employees who have children with special needs
• Recognition of prior learning (RPL) to be used as criteria for qualifying categories of employees to be brought to a desired entry salary level.
Pre negotiations phase:
Council agreed to a pre-negotiations process, with the aim of resolving technical issues before the actual process of negotiations start. In previous negotiations it was found that technical matters had the tendency of slowing down processes of substantial negotiations and therefore Council wanted to ensure that in this round it will not be the case.
Council concluded on the process of pre-negotiations. One of the more important matters agreed to in the pre-negotiations were the discussions on the CPI (Consumer Price Index). Parties deliberated and agreed that the projected CPI for consideration during this round of negotiations is at 5.8% and this should be used as a baseline for entering or starting the 2014/15 salary negotiations.
The employer is currently preparing a response to the demands of Labour and indicated that they will be ready soon to start the process of negotiations. Parties have and are still committed to finalise this process by the end of December 2014.
As and when the employer tables their response to the demands, we will update you again.
Negotiations on Outstanding Matters:
Council agreed to a series of meetings as to engage in an attempt to resolve outstanding matters from previous collective agreements. This resulted in a number of meetings over the last two to three months and substantial progress was made as to finalise these matters.
Herewith a summary on the progress made:
1. Review of the Impact of Outsourcing in the Public Service
Council agreed to conduct a review on the impact of outsourcing and agentisation in the Public Service. The review will amongst others consider the following;
• The review should consider the stated rationale of outsourcing and agentisation, e.g. cost efficiency and effectiveness vis-a-vis the practical results of such undertakings.
• In this regard, the review must take into consideration the cost implication to government to perform a particular function against the cost implication of the same function now performed by the relevant agency/ company/ organization/ institution;
• Also to consider future escalation in cost, taking into account inflation and expanding demand or need.
• The prevalence of wastage and corruption related to tenders and payments made to the private sector partners for their services, vis-a-vis these functions and services being performed by government.
2. Decent Work
Decent work sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives. It involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.
Council will establish a joint venture with the International Labour Organization (ILO) in conducting an independent study on decent work within the Public Service.
The report will be tabled to Council by March 2015.
Parties agreed to introduce a Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS) in terms of clause 4.2 of PSCBC Resolution 4 of 2010, clause 3.3 of PSCBC Resolution 2 of 2011 and clause 19 of PSCBC Resolution 1 of 2012; the scheme has the following objectives;
• To support, educate and advise employees on housing options and opportunities;
• To enhance public service employees’ access to affordable housing;
• To promote home ownership and facilitate asset security among public service employees;
• To assist public service employees to access affordable housing loans and finance;
• To assist employees to rent houses with a view to buy and own homes; and
• To provide transitional arrangements towards the GEHS.
Substantial progress has been made in finalising the framework for establishment of the scheme. The status of the current homeowners allowance and the date of implementation of the new scheme is two of the more important issues that Parties are still deliberating on.
Parties will conclude on this agreement soon. Clients will be updated on the progress made.
The following outstanding matters are still under discussion and a progress report will follow soon;
• Review of Occupational Classes qualifying for danger allowance;
• Minimum Service Level Agreement for the Public Service;
• Review of the remuneration policy of the Public Service with the remuneration of educators receiving priority attention within the review process;
• The review of Resolution 3 of 2009, the salary structure and career pathing for non-OSD employees; and
• The review of the PMDS for Public Servants.
The Negotiations process is ongoing and a further update will be published soon.