Thursday 2023-02-09

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CIVIL SERVANTS HAVE UNTIL FRIDAY TO SIGN 3% COLA AGREEMENT

By SABELO NDZINISA | 2022-08-19

 

Civil servants have until Friday to sign the collective agreement that would implement a three per cent cost of living adjustment (CoLA) with effect from the end of the month (August).

Government, through the ministry of public service, offered three per cent plus a once-off payment of one per cent of annual salary to managers and non-unionisable civil servants.

Noteworthy is that on June 27,  the Government Negotiation Team (GNT) and the Eswatini Principals Association (EPA) signed this collective agreement to implement a three per cent CoLA of monthly basic salary, further agreeing on additional once-off payment of one per cent of annual basic salary across the board.

However, the Public Sectors Union (PSUs) did not agree with government on the agenda for the Joint Negotiation Forum (JNF) and were excluded from the offer.

Public Service Minister Mabulala Maseko yesterday told senators that for the managers and non-unionsable civil servants to enjoy the CoLA adjustment in their basic salaries this month, they would need to sign the required collective agreement by the 12th of this month (Friday).

“I can confirm that the Eswatini Principals Association will enjoy the benefits of the three percent adjustments in their salaries at the end of this month (August) after signing the collective agreement to that effect,” said the minister.

He said this would not apply to civil servants as PSUs had not yet signed the agreement.

The minister said given that salaries would be processed on the 12th, signing of the agreement must happen within the next three days.

“If that does not happen, then the civil servants would have to wait for September to have their salaries adjusted on condition that PSUs sign the collective agreement,” Maseko explained.

The minister did not hide the fact that ideally, government would have loved to see all civil servants enjoying the CoLA adjustment at the end of this month like the EPA.

Senators were, however, still concerned that the current situation could spark division among civil servants, especially those who may have wanted to get the CoLA adjustment but were left out due to the fact that PSUs had not yet signed the agreement.

“I have been approached by some civil servants requesting that they get the three per cent salary adjustment. It is a pity that this will only apply once the PSUs sign the collective agreement and if that can happen before the 12th, this will be effected at the end of this month like the EPA. Security forces will also enjoy these benefits as their members are not part of unions,” he said.

Teachers who are members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) would not enjoy the CoLA benefits as they are unionised.    

SNAT Secretary General Sikelela Dlamini said they were not in a rush to sign the collective agreement with government on CoLA.

“We are still to meet and deliberate on this issue before deciding on the way forward. We do not want to accept a deal that will not change the salary structure of our members. Teachers are united on this issue and once we are done with our discussions, we will have a proper direction on this issue. If anything, we were not expecting to get the CoLA for the simple reason that our members are unionised,” Dlamini said.     

 

Minister Maseko told senators that GNT was negotiating on the basis that there was E220 million budget set aside through the Appropriation Act No.1 of 2023 for CoLA in the 2022/23 financial year. 

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