Deputy Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, said it is critical that public sector union and government work for a productive and stable public service and ensure that the public service machinery functions properly with the ultimate goal of delivering efficient services to citizens.
The Deputy Minister was speaking at the 20th anniversary celebration of the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council (GPSSBC) held in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg last Thursday.
She said government has initiated mechanisms to continue to engage social partners to build on the gains of the past and to further open and cement the channels of communication in a transparent and consultative manner outside of formal bargaining structures as well.
In relations to the 29.11% unemployment rate that continues to be a distressing factor for government with young people gravely affected, the Deputy Minister said government is working hard to reverse the situation through creating an investor friendly and conducive environment.
“We have no choice but to address and defeat the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality,” she said.
The Deputy Minister said since the institutionalisation of collective bargaining in the public service, the system has produced very crucial collective agreements, which include, transformation and restructuring of the public service, Introduction of the Occupation Specific Dispensation-aimed at attracting and retaining critical skills within the Public Service, the revised salary structure for employees on salary levels 1 – 12 not covered by an Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD), the Establishment of the Government Employees Medical Scheme, establishment of the Government Employees Housing Scheme, and the multi-term agreements on salary adjustments and improvements on conditions of service in the Public Service, the latest such agreement is for the periods 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21.
“These agreements have undoubtedly resulted in improvements in wages and conditions of service, including job security.
“It is clear that there is a relatively good and constructive working relationship between organised labour admitted to the PSCBC and the state as well as the employer,” the Deputy Minister said.