Remarks by the Minister for Public Service and Administration Lindiwe Sisulu following the signing of a three-year wage settlement for the Public Service
1 Aug 2012Thank you very much for being patient with us, we have called you here toupdate the public on the 2012/2013 multi-year wage settlement for the public service, its benefit to our public servants and most important the benefits to all South Africans. We will also touch on the journey we begin today as a public service in partnership with all sectors of our country and labour to build a public service that understands the public expectations, and work every day to meet and exceed them.
Yesterday we signed an agreement between government and labour. This multi-year agreement came as a result of sweats, sleepless nights and selfless dedication by all party members. Let me take this opportunity to thank every person at the Bargaining Council who contributed immensely towards the attainment of this year’s agreement. We were able to achieve this because someone had to sacrifice his family time for the sake of our country and our people.
We all agree that yesterday’s multi-year agreement marked a historic milestone in salary negotiations and in building relationships between ourselves as government and labour. This agreement we entered into yesterday begins a journey between the employer and labour represented by Unions to improve productivity in the Public sector. Today as the employer we re-affirm our commitment to do things differently and together with labour have committed ourselves to a working relationship towards a service delivery accord that will ensure high productivity, efficiency and professionalism in the public service.
These negotiations are important to us because we all agreed on a multi-year settlement of three years. This is very important as it allows Government to budget properly and also provide necessary time to implement all elements of the agreement.
Again I must congratulate all parties for arriving at this. I am certain that the stability this brings to planning, budgeting and allocation of resources in the public sector cannot be over emphasized.This agreement must also communicate a message to all public servants that we have started a new journey together, a journey with higher level of productivity, a journey in which public servants are preoccupied with only one thing, serving the public.
The agreement is also important as it allows us to kick start a process to improve the conditions of service of our public servants. I am on record saying we are committed to a public service that exist on the best conditions of service, a public service that understands the expectations of the public and work very hard every day to meet and exceed those expectations.Our colleagues from Unions also told me they are more than committed to the same thing. We are working together as a team.
Also very key about these negotiations is that some of the benefits to employees we are beginning to roll out. Most important is the intention to urgently finalise processes towards the Government Employee Housing Scheme, all public servants must own their homes, property is the foundation for wealth creation.We will finalise this with all stakeholders very soon.
We are also committed that all employees and their families must have access to medical insurance; to this end we have tasked the Government Employee Medical Scheme (GEMS) to reach rural public servants and to ensure that all public servants and their families have access to medical insurance.
We would like to say to all South Africans that we know their challenges, we know about the red tapes and the long pipes of service delivery. Together here we want to make those nightmares things of the past. We are relooking at the structure and design of the Public Service and Administration; we do this in order to improve service delivery to our people.We want a public service system that delivers quality service to our people.
We all agreed here that citizens must say NO to bad service. To empower the public and to receive on going feedback we are going back to the basis, we will soon embark on a nationwide listening programme, we are coming to listen to you on how we can improve from where we are, we will then conclude a service charter with labour, so that public servants know your expectations and they work to exceed them.South Africans can also check our service against that charter. Things have to change, and it is time for that change.
We will also in the next few weeks re-launch the Batho Pele Call Centre to empower South Africans to compliment and also report bad service. We will also from August 1, 2012 start a programme to ensure that all Public Servants go back to their name tags, so that you can identify them in order to compliment them.We have also commenced very detailed work as part of our service charter process to define what is a Public Servant?What should the public expect from that Servant?We also seek to define the timelines of our service and make them public; South Africans must know how many days it takes to open a business, how many days to rezone land, how many days to get any other service of Government? That where we want to get to. We seek to create a two way communications with all citizens to allow them to play a role in the improvement of our service. We are in this together.
Yesterday in the Council, parties agreed on a three–year wage settlement as follows:
- The salary adjustment effective on 1 May 2012 will be CPI plus 1% (7%) for the period 1 May 2012 to 31 March 2013.
- The salary adjustment effective on 1 April 2013 will be based on the average projected CPI plus 1% for the period 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014.
- The salary adjustment effective on 1 April 2014 will be based on the average projected CPI plus 1% for the period 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015.
In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to recognise and acknowledge commitment to an effective public service shown by labour unions throughout this negotiations process. This demonstrated one thing that working together as a team nothing impossible.
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Issued by: Department of Public Service and Administration
1 Aug 2012
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