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Govt appeals to unions to back postponement of wage hike court hearing

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In a letter from the Department of Public Service and Administration’s attorneys, which Eyewitness News has seen, the State stresses its preference for settling disputes outside the courts.

FILE: Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – Government is appealing with labour unions to agree to a postponement of Wednesday’s court hearing over its decision to freeze wage hikes in the public sector.

In a letter from the Department of Public Service and Administration’s attorneys, which Eyewitness News has seen, the State stresses its preference for settling disputes outside the courts.

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ALSO READ: Cut politicians’ salaries instead of freezing public servants’ increases

Unionists Eyewitness News spoke to were shocked at the change of heart from government after defending its decision to oppose unions in court in the unprecedented legal battle.

The unions resolved to launch a dispute in the Labour Appeal Court after workers were not paid their increased salaries this year despite an existing agreement.

ALSO READ: Treasury defends decision to freeze increases for public sector

The state is pleading poverty here. In the letter dated Tuesday, government said a settlement would be preferable where there was a reasonable chance that the current dispute will go beyond the Labour Appeal Court and only be determined much later.

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It’s proposing the legal process should be set aside until February.

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