southafricalogoFinancial Mail writes that the government’s review of the three-year 2018 public sector wage agreement, announced last month, may just turn out to be a damp squib.  

For all the government’s posturing and claims to be talking to labour about reviewing the deal, the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC), where the agreement was struck, says the government cannot simply pull out of the deal.  Should it do so and fail to give effect to the wage increase it agreed to in the 2018 wage talks, the government risks being hauled to court by unions in litigation that could span a number of years.  Such a move could also place the government in a precarious position politically, given the breach of trust it would involve.  This was indicated by PSCBC general secretary Frikkie de Bruin about the review tabled in the council on 25 February.  He advised that there were no formal talks about the review under way between the government and the unions in the council.  He commented both sides were "upset" and had their own preferred approaches to the engagement. The unions, for example, were refusing to entertain talk about a review, while the government wanted labour to agree to the possibility of a review before entertaining any further talks.  How the government proceeds will set the tone for the next round of wage talks, set to unfold later this year.

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