The objective of this agreement will be to; introduce a Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS) to support, educate and advise employees on housing options and opportunities, enhance employees’ access to affordable housing, promote home ownership and facilitate asset security among employees, assist employees to access affordable housing loans and finance, assist employees to rent houses with a view to buy and own homes and provide transitional arrangements towards the GEHS.
The amount of the housing allowance paid to eligible employees shall increase from R 900 to R 1,200 per month. Employees who are eligible to receive the housing allowance but do not own a house shall continue to receive R900 per month.
The difference between the total housing allowance and the R900 shall be diverted into and accumulated in an individual-linked savings facility.
The COSATU Public Service Unions are deeply disappointed that a three-day conciliation process with the employer, over wage negotiations, that began on Friday, 10 April 2015, has not yielded any results. Both parties have so far failed to reach the middle ground or a find a solution to the ongoing impasse. Labour is still demanding 10% salary adjustment and R1500 housing allowance and the employer still offers 5, 8% salary adjustment and R1100 housing allowance across the board. This is because the employer still continues to drag its feet and is openly refusing to come up with a reasonable offer for consideration by our members.
This unfortunately means that after seven months of negotiations, the employer’s attitude has not changed and their level of ill-informed overconfidence and carelessness is increasing. We have always maintained that at the centre of the employer’s lack of cooperation and intransigence is the Department of Finance. The biggest enemy of the workers and the working class in this country is the Treasury. They are prepared to bend over backwards to pacify the capitalist class and will do everything to oppress the workers so as to please the foreign institutions and ratings agencies.
The level of intransigence and arrogance, displayed by the employer, therefore comes from the mandate as dictated to by the Treasury. They have a clear and deliberate agenda to implement selective voluntary austerity measures. We call these austerity measures selective, because they are only directed only to the workers and the poor and are meant to appease capital.
There are no other social strata’s that have been subjected to these measures except the working class. For the last two years, the Treasury has been leading an anti-worker agenda and has been making public declarations statements vilifying the workers and treating them like a costly nuisance.
We find this not only mischievous but also deeply intolerable; we are clear that there is a concerted effort to reverse the gains of the workers and make their organisations redundant.
Government insists on adhering to discredited neo-liberal policies of GEAR that have continuously failed the poor majority of this country. This goes against the radical second phase of transition that we were promised and actually represents the betrayal of the workers who overwhelmingly voted for the manifesto during the last elections.
Everyday, we are subjected to media reports of wasteful expenditure by government and reports of exorbitant profits made by private companies that are doing the business with the state; the Auditor General’s report is full of stories about corruption and mismanagement of taxpayer’s money. They continue to enjoy their ever expanding benefits and salaries and yet they refuse to give workers decent wage increases. We refuse to be reduced to beggars and we won’t allow the employer to impose the percentage increase on us.
Our unions will conclude the on-going membership consultation processes by next week. We are going to continue to engage with the employer with the hope of resolving this amicably. But, the writing is on the wall for us that the employer cheered on by Treasury, are prepared to emasculate the unions and undermine the concept of bargaining.
Starting on Thursday next week, we will be taking our battle to the streets with Treasury on our sight. All our unions will be mobilising their members for a massive march in Pretoria to the Department of Finance. We will also be having nationwide stayaways, pickets and demonstrations in the other eight provinces.
This represents the first step for us to our battle to the streets. Our patience is wearing thin and going forward we will be left with no option but to abandon the boardroom altogether and go to the streets fulltime.
COSATU Public Service unions, namely, NEHAWU, SADTU, POPCRU, DENOSA, SAMA, PAWUSA and SASAWU, learnt with shock and deep sadness of the tragic passing on of Cde Collins Chabane, the Minister of Department of Public Service and Administration in the Republic of South Africa and his two protectors, Sergeants Lesiba Sekele and Lawrence Lenstoane who were also members of POPCRU, our sister union.
Cde Chabane, an ANC NWC member, a former Robben Islander, former exile, former combatant of the glorious people’s army, the MK and former MEC of Public Works in Limpopo Province amongst other deployments, was a brave man who, at a very young age, risked his life for total emancipation of the oppressed people of South Africa.
We worked closely with him when he was deployed to lead the Department of Public Service and Administration in 2014 towards the end of PSCBC Resolution 1 0f 2012 which dealt with, amongst others, the ground – breaking Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS) which was very close to his heart. If completed in time, this scheme will be the first integrated and comprehensive housing scheme in the democratic public service.
Cde Chabane was willing to listen and frankly engage with public service unions at any time. We never had any problems with him as a comrade and a minister. At the time of his passing on, Cde Chabane was spearheading the last phase of 2014/15 negotiations which we all confidently think will be concluded by the 31st of March 2015 and we were looking forward to the signing of an agreement which is going to improve the lives of the public servants. However fate had other plans.
Cde Chabane’s death is a huge loss to the country and the continent he served with distinction. As a cadre of our movement, Cde Chabane leaves the responsibility to us all to build the ANC and to revive its core values of unity, selflessness, sacrifice, collective leadership, humility, honesty, discipline, hard work, internal debates, constructive criticism, as well as mutual respect.
We dip our banners in mourning you, Cde Chabane, our departed son of the soil. South Africa is poorer without you. We pass our deepest condolences to your family, your organisation the ANC, your colleagues in both Parliament and Cabinet, the DPSA staff, the country as a whole and in particular your close relative, our Convenor and SADTU General Secretary Cde Mugwena Maluleke. We say to them, your loss is our loss and we are with them in this trying and challenging time.
Hamba Kahle Mkhonto. We dare not fail you!
The PSCBC is deeply saddened by the new of the passing of our Honourable Minister of Public Service and Administration (DPSA). The Presidency confirmed that Minister Chabane passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning (15/03/15) as a result of a motor vehicle accident. This is indeed a loss to Government and our Country. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the 2 Police Protectors who were with the Minister and their loved ones. May all of their souls rest in peace.