Public Service and Administration Minister, Ms Noxolo Kiviet

The last and final salary increase offer tabled by the government at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) entails a pensionable salary increase of 7,5% for consideration by trade unions, says the Department of Public Service and Administration.

The employer’s last and final offer tabled on March 17, 2023, at the PSCBC entailed the following provisions:

  • A two-year multi-term agreement for the financial year 2023/24 and financial year 2024/25.
  • Pensionable salary increases of 7.5% for employees on levels 1 – 12 packaged as follows: translation of the current non-pensionable cash gratuity at the value of 4.2% on the baseline, a nominal increase of 3.3% across the board and pay progression of 1.5% for all qualifying public servants shall continue as per the existing dispensation across all departments.

Departmental Communications Director: Mr Moses Mushi said the non-pensionable cash allowance will be translated into the pensionable increase on the baseline with effect from 1 April 2023, without disadvantaging any employee in terms of the cash net effect into the pocket.

“This translation will benefit the employees in that it contributes towards the growth of the pension of employees; improves the notches of employees; increases the base for any future increases and is also sustainable and permanent. “It should be clarified that there is no agreement with the Public Sector Unions that the cash gratuity will continue indefinitely,” he said.

Clause 3.2 of Resolution 1 of 2021 states that “the non-pensionable cash allowance will be paid backdated from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.”

Clause 3.3 of the same Resolution 1 of 2021 states that “If no new agreement is reached by 31 March 2022 on the 2022/2023 salary adjustment, this non-pensionable cash allowance shall remain in force until a new agreement is entered into by the parties.”

This position by the employer was communicated in advance to the trade unions through DPSA Circular 50 of 2022 that the cash allowance shall be paid until 31 March 2023.

According to Mr Mushi, parties at the PSCBC have now reached an agreement, therefore clause 3.3 of Resolution 1 of 2021 shall be complied with fully without disadvantaging any employee.

He further said the DPSA wanted to clarify the matter of public service wage negotiations currently underway at the PSCBC.

In keeping with the resolution of the 2022 Public Service Summit of aligning the budget process of the government with the wage negotiations, the employer took initiated wage negotiations with organised labour mobilising within the public service.

Negotiations at the PSCBC

Negotiations commenced at the PSCBC on February 17 earlier this year with the majority of trade unions (SADTU, PSA, NAPTOSA and HOSPERSA) who constitute 53.9% in the public service being part of the first meeting.

Mr Mushi said the initial offer tabled on February 17, 2023, by the employer was informed by the following principles:

  • The quest for a multi-term agreement, to bring stability to the public service and allow for proper planning and implementation of service delivery programs by the government.
  • Translation of the non-pensionable cash gratuity into the baseline, to allow the pensions of public servants to grow significantly and improve their notches.
  • Conclusion of negotiations by the end of March 2023, as this will allow for the smooth transition from a non-pensionable gratuity to a pensionable increase that will be implemented with effect from the beginning of the financial year on 1 April 2023.

In responding to the employer, trade unions participating in the negotiations presented their demands for the financial year 2023/24 and continued with the process of negotiations.

On 09 March 2023, the PSCBC initiated a process of facilitation between the Employer and the trade unions that were not participating in the negotiations within the PSCBC formal process. The purpose of the facilitation was to end the strike in the public service and bring back all the parties to participate in the negotiations process for the financial year 2023/24.

The facilitation process concluded on 14 March 2023, with the Employer and trade unions that were not participating in the negotiations, signing a settlement agreement that sought to end the strike and to have all parties to the PSCBC participate in the 2023/24 wage negotiations. On 14 – 17 March 2023, the negotiations continued at the PSCBC with all parties to the PSCBC participating in the process as per the settlement agreement.