Union threatens to bring SA to its knees through strike


JOHANNESBURG, June 6 – A strike by the Public Service Association (PSA) planned for next week will shut down South Africa’s public service, including ports of entry, the PSA said on Wednesday.

The PSA’s 240,000 members will down tools on Monday over wages in what the union has dubbed a ”day of rage” after it refused to sign the public service three-year wage deal with the government.

”We are expecting disruptions in the economy and closing down of all border gates. We are not going to call on health sector workers to strike as they are an essential service…but we are going to target where it hurts the most,” PSA deputy general manager Tahir Maepa told reporters in Centurion.

The union has served notice to strike¬†at the¬†Sector Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC). It said it extended an invitation to all other unions that rejected signing the agreement to ”join the defiance strike action”.

PSA general manager Ivan Fredericks said months of negotiations at the Public Sector Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) had been ”staged.”

”Reflecting on these negotiations from the beginning that negotiations might have been a staged process between the State, alliance partner Cosatu and even the PSCBC secretary, a previous representative of Cosatu affiliate, Popcru,” charged Fredericks.

”Looking at items contained in the initial demand by Cosatu and the final conclusion and response [from the State], it is very clear that the outcome of the negotiations had been determined [before hand].”

The three-year deal includes a 7 percent increase for junior employees, 6.5 percent for mid-level employees and 6 percent for senior staff for 2018/2019. The second and third-year increases will be on sliding scale. PSA has demanded a 10 percent increase for staffers in categories 1 to 10 and an 8 percent for those in higher categories 10 to 12, a R1,500 housing subsidy and an increased medical aid subsidy.

Maepa accused Public Service Minister Ayanda Dlodlo of ”hypocrisy” after she tweeted on the agreement signed with unions.

Dlodlo had tweeted: “The tabled agreement has now been signed by 48,8 percent of the unions. It needs just 1,3 percent more to enjoy majority support. Only PSA has rejected the agreement, with 35,2 percent finalising their internal process and will sign soon.”

– African News Agency (ANA)