South Africa: Unions demand more reforms for public workers

In a press conference Tuesday the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) announced that it will continue to reject a public sector wage agreement with the country’s Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) for what they call a “savage attack on the living standards of public servants.”

The PSCBC announced Friday that 65.74% of trade unions agreed to salary adjustments and new conditions of service for three years, from 2018/19 to 2020/21, after hitting a deadlock last week.

Trade unions in opposition to the agreement say that a strike will not have the desired impact on labour negotiations. They are committing to a “campaign on the ground until it is reversed” while outlining the conditions to workers.

“The agreement signed in 2018 is in many respects worse than the 2014-2017 agreement. This agreement overall seeks to make workers pay for an economic crisis they did not create. Those who created the crisis still smile all the way to the bank,” the SAFTU press statement read.

Citrus workers, gold miners and some trade unions have since voiced and organized for higher wages and benefits. Citrus workers in the Eastern Cape also went on strike through last week to increase their current minimum wage of 16.8 Rand, before they reached an agreement with the Sunday’s River Valley Citrus Producers Forum to raise the minimum pay to 20 rand per hour for two years, effective June 7.

As described on, more than 20 years after the end of Apartheid in 1994, significant disparities in wealth, opportunity and employment continue to exist in South Africa.

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