As government we are satisfied with the progress made on the first week of conciliation. We are also confident that an agreement will be reached when parties convene at the bargaining council on 21 April 2015.
In the last three days, the parties recorded progress on the following:
The GEMS medical aid subsidy is improved from 17.6% to 28.5% for public service employees;
ii. The parties have agreed to review the efficacy and assess the operating model of GEMS;
iii. Investigate the feasibility of a pensioner dispensation in respect of the housing allowance and review medical aid assistance;
iv. Introduction of three (3) days for paternity leave for public service employees;
v. Family responsibility leave for public service employees who have children with severe special needs is improved from two (2) to three (5) days;
vi. The Employer will develop a policy on recognition of prior learning for public service employees;
vii. A study will be conducted on the feasibility of a bursary scheme for children of public service employees; and
viii. The housing allowance is improved by 33.3% from R900 to R1 200.
The parties have not reached an agreement on the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).
The Employer has offered:
i. Projected CPI + 1% for 2015/16;
ii. Projected CPI + 0.5% for 2016/17; and
iii. Projected CPI + 0.5% for 2017/18.
Cost implications of the employer offer
The current Wage Bill is R400 billion and is projected to grow to R430 billion in the 2015/16 financial year. This constitutes about 35.5% of the total government budget.
Any increase beyond what is budgeted will lead to borrowing for recurring expenses such as salaries, and impact negatively on operational budgets of departments, infrastructure development, employment creation, and service delivery. For this reason, the Employer believes that current offer is fair and reasonable and takes into account the current economic situation of our country whilst sufficiently cushioning the salaries of public service employees from the effects of inflation.
The current employer offer is estimated at R37 billion. This offer is inclusive of the Cost of Living Adjustment plus other benefits for 2015/16 financial year.
The State as Employer remains optimistic that the conciliation process will produce a mutually-beneficial outcome and that negotiations will conclude in April 2015. The Employer appreciates the patience demonstrated by all public service employees during this period.
For further information:
Brent Simons, Ministerial Spokesperson
Cell: 076 315 7330
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS