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National News Flash 13 of 2018: Draft wage agreement signed by NAPTOSA

Members are advised that NAPTOSA today appended its signature to the draft wage agreement negotiated in the PSCBC.

The decision to support the draft agreement was taken during a special NSC teleconference last week, following surveys conducted among members.
Whilst the draft agreement does not in all respects meet our demands, there was general consensus among the majority of unions that after more than eight months of negotiations this was the best that could be achieved, especially in view of a clear lack of enthusiasm among members, also NAPTOSA members, for strike action.
Statements by some unions that the agreement gives the employer carte blanche with regard to the increases for public servants in years 2 and 3, because National Treasury (whose projections are to be used) can manipulate the projected CPI, is simply not true. The public service has since 2001 been using projected CPI, as determined by National Treasury, as the basis for salary increases in the outer years of a multi-term agreement. Furthermore the projected CPI announced by the Minister of Finance in his/her annual Budget Review is for purposes of national and international economic activity. In other words to manipulate it to disadvantage public servants specifically would be foolish, because it would in all likelihood be out of kilter with the projections of the economic community, thereby opening the door for unions to call for a re-negotiation of the agreement.

In considering the draft agreement, the salary position of public servants must be considered holistically. In the first instance salaries will increase over the next three years, contrary to comments by detractors of the draft agreement that some will not receive any increases in years 2 and 3 – see the proposed salary adjustments as conveyed in News Flash 10 of 2018. Over and above this, the following must be born in mind:
•    Educators who qualify for pay progression will gain another 0,5% over the next 2 years (0,3% in 2018 and        0,2% in 2019) which will result in pay progression of 1,5% p.a. for future years.
•    The limitation that only one spouse could qualify for the housing allowance, in cases where both work for          the public service, will be completely lifted by September 2019 (those on salary levels 1-5 will already               enjoy the benefit from 1 September 2018).
•    Public servant who belong to GEMS have their medical subsidy adjusted on 1 January each year with the           Medical Price Index of the previous year.
•    The housing allowance of qualifying public servants increase annually on 1 July with the average CPI of             the previous year.

Although NAPTOSA’s signing of the draft agreement unfortunately does not bring the number of trade union signatories to more than the 50% required to make it an agreement of the PSCBC, we trust that some of our partner unions will also sign the draft agreement before the expiry of the 21 day window period. NAPTOSA nevertheless believes that it has acted with integrity and in accordance with the will of the majority of its members.
Members will be kept posted on further developments pertaining to the signing of the agreement as well as the implementation of the agreement, should majority support be achieved.