The snow that fell in parts of the country is as unusual as two developments that have taken place on SA’s labour relations scene.
Breakthrough in the public sector
The first is that the unions in the public sector, in two separate sets of negotiations, have agreed to 3-year wage agreements. This is a significant victory for the two employers concerned – the local authorities in the country represented by SALGA (SA Local Government Associaton) and the national government represented by the Dept of Public Service and Administration.
At the outset of negotiations the unions were reported to be categorically against multi-year agreements. In the end they settled. It is clear that a lot of talking and arm-twisting must have taken place to shift people to this position.
The new minister for Public Service and Administration, Lindiwe Sisulu, who came over from Defence to Public Service after a cabinet reshuffle in June, can certainly put a feather in her cap. At Defence she developed a reputation for being anti-union. At Public Administration she proved that
rather than being anti-union, she is simply a tough employer.
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