The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has responded to the Communications Workers Union’s planned strike action, which is expected to start on Friday, by warning that although it respects the right of its employees to strike those that do so will not be paid while they’re not at work.
Icasa says that it offered employees who are members of the union a 5% salary increase in December 2011 and that it is now augmenting that offer with an additional 3% on a proportional basis. The additional 3% is to be granted on a sliding scale across the board.
The result is that employees at the bottom of the salary scale will be offered an effective 8% salary increase, while those at the top stand to receive a minimum of a 6,5% increase.
Icasa says the financial implications of the proposed increases amount to R7,4m for the initial 5% offer, and R8,6m for the additional 3%. It adds that the 8% salary increase offered exceeds the current budget allocation for salaries for the new financial year by R1,3m.
It says the cumulative effect of this salary increase implies that Icasa will have to reduce costs for filling vacant positions by 50%.
The union, meanwhile, is demanding an 11% increase across the board. It is also demanding a monthly housing allowance of R1 500 for all employees, a performance bonus, leave between Christmas and New Year’s Day, a moratorium on retrenchment and a cellphone allowance for staff whose duties demand it.
As its demands haven’t been met, the union said on Wednesday that affected employees will embark on a strike on Friday.
Icasa says it is seeking clarity from the union as to the whether the proposed industrial action will be confined to the Friday or be indefinite. Union spokesman Vulture Ntuluki said on Wednesday that the union was prepared to continue striking until such time as its demands were met.
The regulator is advising employees who intend to participate in the industrial action to sign a declaration form to this effect, which commits them to participation throughout the entire strike period.
Icasa says it will use the “no work, no pay principle” in relation to employees who participate in the strike. It adds that it will not tolerate intimidation of non-striking employees or stakeholders and customers who visit Icasa premises for services during the strike action, nor will it tolerate damage to property.
It says it is also developing a “contingency plan to mitigate the impact of the industrial action on its operations”.
Ntuluki says the union “doesn’t want to enter into tit-for-tat with Icasa” and will “examine Icasa’s response and respond as and when appropriate”. — Craig Wilson, TechCentral
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