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Minister Mchunu address the media on wage negotiations

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Government value and will never undermine the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) resolutions, says Public Service and Administration Minister, Mr Senzo Mchunu.

Briefing the media on the developments in the public service space on Thursday, Minister Mchunu said negotiations are currently underway in the PSCBC chambers between government and trade unions.

“There has never been and will never be a resolution by Government to undermine collective bargaining. These are the most difficult negotiations between Government and organised labour, which the country has ever faced,” he said.

Minister Mchunu attributed this to bad state of the country’s economy; that the country is headed towards a ‘fiscal cliff’; Covid-19 and the manner in which it has affected the entire world; running behind schedule in terms of the current negotiations (2021/2022) due to delays in previous year; the outcome of the Labour Appeal Court, with labour appealing the decision in the Constitutional Court; and the need for drastic changes in the public service.

He further revealed that government is premised on four components, which need to be acknowledged; respected as well as to be used as a measure of fairness.

“The principles which bind these four components are: equity, transparency, affordability, fairness,” he said, adding that his message to those negotiating is that they must be courageous and exercise leadership.

“Negotiate as patriotic citizens not as adversaries…we are investing and expecting a lot from these negotiations. With the utmost transparency under circumstances where national treasury has unequivocally told Cabinet that, the state has no money; each proposal by either of the parties must be taken seriously, holistically and comprehensively.

“You need to go beyond demands and arrive at solutions to challenges facing all of us collectively, avoiding confrontation,” he said.

Mr John Frederick Slater as its lead negotiator for the 2021/22 wage negotiations at the PSCBC. His mandate and the team is that they should not take posture of people who want to win – the country has to win – not government’s team.

The Public Service Amendment Bill

“As Government, we are addressing the plague of fragmentation in the public service and public administration in the country. Cabinet has approved the publication of the Public Service Amendment Bill and the Public Administration Management Amendment Bill for public comment,” he said.

Fighting Corruption

Mr Mchunu said the country is at war from all fronts against corruption and corrupt activities in the public service. He once again announced that as the department, they are still in the process to revamp some of their systems.

The Minister singled out the Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit (TAU) aimed at managing public servants doing business with the state; generally improving on discipline and ethics in the public service.

He said many investigations by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU); National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa (NPA); the Hawks and the Auditor-General are still underway.

“The whole of society must turn its back on corruption, which has decimating consequences for the poor,” he said.