South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) is set to go on a national roadshow to consult its members at Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) about the employer’s final salary increase offer.
Labour unions at Prasa met with management late last week for the fourth and final round of negotiations after they failed to reach an agreement in preceding rounds.
Salary talks started in January with SATAWU and UNTU demanding a 20% across the board increase while management offered 4.5%. The second round saw unions drop their demand to 15% and management come up slightly to 5.5%.
During round three, management reiterated the context under which the negotiations were taking place. They made clear their intention to keep a tight lid on the salary bill given the myriad challenges facing the organisation. In the interest of moving talks forward, unions had previously asked to see Prasa’s analysis of financial status and business plan so as to make an informed decision. However, the request was not acceded to, causing parties to deadlock with labour demanding 12% while the employer offered 6%.
However, both parties agreed to bring in a commissioner to mediate talks in the last round and to ensure disclosure with regard to the agency’s financial status.
Prasa’s financial status was ultimately disclosed in the final round after which labour undertook to go on roadshows across the country to consult members on Prasa’s final offer of 7.3% across the board. Should members not accept the offer, both parties will revert to their previous position of 12% versus 6% and declare a dispute with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
Given this is a busy time with the forthcoming International Workers’ Day celebrations and national elections, parties agreed roadshows would kick-off on 13 May.