Pretoria – The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers is dismayed by the decision of the Labour Appeal Court to dismiss its application to force the government to implement the last leg of the public service wage agreement.
Members of the union camped at Church Square for three days and nights to raise their grievances and call on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to inform cabinet that government workers wanted wage increases as per the wage agreement signed in 2018.
Union spokesperson Kagiso Makoe said they were disappointed because they had fought hard for its members, who were negatively affected financially due to the scourge of the global pandemic.
The union said it that times were tough of employers and governments, but things were just as tough for employees as they too were seeing their pockets shrink. They needed government to lead the private sector by example in times like these.
Makoe said: “We are disappointed that the Labour Appeal court has dismissed the application by the union and others to seek an enforcement order of clause 3.3 of the 2018 wage agreement.
“The Labour Court found that the clause was unlawful. According to the judgement, the government does not have to hike public servants salaries this year.
“We are frustrated that the pandemic is used as an excuse to renege from a signed agreement. They have been waging this battle since the dawn of democracy.
“The judgement effectively bans collective bargaining in the public service since unions are not part of the government mandating process and have always negotiated in good faith assuming that government was also doing the same.
“We would understand any other party except the government to raise the argument of unlawfulness. This shows we are dealing with a bunch of crooks who sign an agreement which they do not intend to implement.
“This is a real disgrace, and the ANC government must cover their faces in shame. To us, their action cannot be described by anything but corruption. We are also looking forward to consequence management on those people who deliberately entered into an “unlawful agreement”.
National convenor Sello Malema said the union was studying the judgement in consultation with their legal team, to see other legal options. He said, however, prima facie errors committed by the court pointed to appeal to the Constitutional Court.
In the meantime, it called on public servants to prepare for a South African Federation Trade Union general strike on February 25.
The union argued that public servants could not remain victims and continue to suffer the consequences of unethical and corrupt political elements dealings in this country.
“Workers are left with the decision to either embark on a nationwide strike or approach the Constitutional Court,” it argued.