ECDC's position on ongoing employee strike

SEPTEMBER 19, 2015

The Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) would again like to extend an apology to all its stakeholders, clients and customers who may be inconvenienced by the staff strike which commenced on Wednesday 9 September, 2015 due to a breakdown in salary increase negotiations between management and trade union SACCAWU.

The strike comes after a conciliation effort by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) broke down with the commissioner having no option but to issue a certificate of exemption of non-resolution.

A further attempt at mediation was held today 16 September, 2015 with a Senior Commissioner from the CCMA. Unfortunately, the union accused the Senior Commissioner of being biased and requested another Senior Commissioner be assigned. ECDC is therefore awaiting a new commissioner to be assigned and the date of such mediation meeting.

While the Corporation has indicated to the union its willingness to continue with negotiations, it has consistently and in good faith communicated its inability to meet the current demand of 9.3% across the board salary increase coupled with a 25% increase in the staff housing allowance, i.e. increase from 20% of salary to the current demand of 25% of salary.

This demand equates to an effective annual adjustment of 13.4% on total cost to company. It should be appreciated that ECDC operates on a cost to company basis with the across the board adjustment also applied to allowances such as the housing allowance, i.e. these allowances have effectively increased on an annual basis. Management is currently offering an across the board or total cost to company (also on allowances) adjustment of 6.85%.

At this stage, the Corporation cannot afford a double-digit salary increase in a challenging economic climate characterised by serious budgetary and cash flow constraints as well as the current strain on the fiscus.

This rate is also significantly higher than the prevailing inflation rates in April 2015, the effective date of the annual increase. While ECDC is sympathetic to the economic circumstances surrounding everyone, it cannot afford to grant salary increases that could potentially threaten the viability of the institution.

Management would like to stress that since the inception of the strike, it has been engaging with the union on a daily basis trying to arrive at a mutually agreeable and affordable solution.

In line with protocol and governance, management is negotiating on the basis of a clear mandate from the Board and the Board is kept appraised on a regular basis. Furthermore, management under the direction of the Accounting Authority (the Board), is committed to continue with engagements until such time a solution is found.

ECDC is fully aware of the disruption the strike has on its ability to deliver to the needs of its customers. While the Corporation has managed to keep open its busier Mthatha and Port Elizabeth regional offices, clients at other regions are encouraged to forward their service requests to the East London Head Office for assistance. - getnews.co.za

 

IMAGE sourced from sabreakingnews.co.za