Labour unions in the security industry are frustrated by government’s failure to promulgate the private security wage increase agreement, leaving almost half a million workers without a wage increase.
All 22 unions and employer associations in the private security industry signed a 6.7% wage increase agreement on 27 July. The agreement was forwarded to the Department of Labour (DoL) for promulgation into law in good time for the implementation date, which was clearly stated as 1 September 2018.
However, DoL only convened its Employment Conditions Commission on 31 August, during which it resolved to conduct public hearings to determine the industry’s affordability of the 6.7% wage hike. Only after the hearings, will it recommend to Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant to promulgate the settlement into law. Given the commission plans to hold public hearings for three weeks, it is clear workers will not receive the wage increase with the end September pay.
Until June this year when DoL approved the application for the establishment of a National Private Security Bargaining Council, labour relations in this sector have been governed by Sectoral Determination. All agreements under Sectoral Determination must be promulgated to ensure compliance by non-parties. But by June wage talks were already in full-swing having started early in the year.
Parties to these negotiations have traditionally signed three-year agreements but settled for a one-year deal to accommodate the setting up of the Bargaining Council and to ensure it takes over the work as soon as possible.
The private security industry is crucial to the South African economy as it employs about 450 000 workers, boasts no less than 22 unions and three employer associations namely: the South African National Security Employers’ Association (SANSEA), Security Association of South Africa (SASA) and the Chamber of South African Private Security (COSAPS).
Employers have also expressed disappointment that the agreement will not be implemented as planned.
We know from our interactions with members that they are eagerly awaiting the pay rise after a draining negotiation process. Employers originally offered a 0% wage increase saying they were only prepared to comply with the introduction of the National Minimum Wage. It was only after government postponed the implementation date of the minimum wage that employers came to the table in earnest.
They offered 4% but we eventually pushed them to a 6.7% settlement. Now it appears workers have a long wait before receiving the increase because the department is yet to release the schedule of public hearings.
For media queries or to arrange an interview contact:
Zanele Sabela, SATAWU Media Officer
011 403 2077/ firstname.lastname@example.org