“We called this briefing as the DPSA, but it is also on behalf of the Committee of Ministers and Government as a whole, in relation to the current wage negotiations in the public service.
Firstly, we want to openly welcome and acknowledge the fact that negotiations are currently underway in the collective bargaining chambers (PSCBC) between Government and Unions in the public service space.
The reasons why we acknowledge the above is to inform and alert all 4 components in the public service space currently in negotiations, which I will expand on a bit later. Furthermore, doubt of Government’s commitment to negotiations with Organised Labour in the public service space which is largely influenced by difficulties in respect of clause 3.3 of Resolution 1 of 2018. 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. And this is based on:
1.the bad state of the country’s economy;
2.the fact that we are headed towards a “fiscal cliff”;
3.COVID-19 and the manner in which it has affected the world at large;
4.us running behind schedule in terms of the negotiations (2021/2022) due to delays in previous year;
5.the outcome of the Labour Appeal Court, with Labour appealing the decision in the Constitutional Court; and
6.the need for drastic changes in the public service space.
Our approach as Government is premised on 4 components in the public service space, which need to be acknowledged and respected and which are to be used as a measure of fairness and their impact in relation to the public service – not just Government and Labour.
The Citizens (who are beneficiaries of the Service);Government (elected by the Citizens);The Service itself (delivered to the Citizens); and The Public Servants (appointed to deliver the Service to the Citizens on behalf of Government).
The principles which bind these 4 components are: equity, transparency, affordability, fairness.
To those negotiating in the Chamber, our message to you is: be courageous, exercise leadership and negotiate with your brains and hearts. Negotiate as patriotic citizens not as adversaries. We ourselves are investing a lot into these negotiations and are expecting a lot from the outcome, doing so in good faith and 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.
Government has appointed an independent facilitator to ensure that we succeed. The mandate to him 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. We need to move away from and avoid separation – there is no “us and them”.
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. The country is at war from all fronts against corruption and corrupt activities in the public service and public administration. Internally, as the DPSA, we revamped some of our systems although not complete. The Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit (TAU) is managing public servants doing business with the State and generally improving on discipline and ethics in the public service. Many investigations underway by SIU, NPA, Hawks and Auditor-General fighting corruption. We encourage them to continue and not tire in their efforts, Government and its leadership pledges its support. There are encouraging signs within the governing party to mean what they say – not only in terms of rhetoric but also in their actions. The whole of society must turn its back on corruption, which has decimating consequences for the poor.
In conclusion, we are quite confident that engagements in the Chamber will close the gap between Government and Labour but will also be in the interest of public service as a whole and with the citizens in mind. This requires great understanding and commitment to the country, ” Department of Public Service and Administration.
Issued on behalf of the Department of Public Service and Administration