The government has denied accusations by civil servants that it was negotiating in bad faith during meetings over salaries.
The National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) met last week, with civil servants rejecting the offer that had been tabled by the government.
Speaking to NewsDay on Monday, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima said the government was committed to reaching an agreement with its employees that will leave them satisfied. He said:
How does the government negotiate in bad faith when it has offered a certain percentage payable now and then in June? What is bad faith there?
In actual fact, the initial offer was 25% then they rejected it and we went back to Treasury, then Treasury said what is available is 70% — not 75% by the way, in between 25% now and 45% in June to make it 70%.
Initially, that communication had not been clear. It was on the basis of the 25% and that is when the initial rejection was made.
The government team went back to NJNC with a clarified offer of 25% and 45% split between April and June and that is the latest. There was no announcement in the Press whatsoever.
Do they mean to say if they had been told in the meeting and not in the Press, they would have accepted that?
Where we are now in a situation where they have said they don’t like the 70%. That is what came back from the NJNC and that is what we are dealing with now as a government.
From the government side, we will leave no stone unturned in order to make sure that we have reached an agreement and the 25% has already become effective. If there is any variation, then that variation will be effected.
It shows you the commitment that we have that even though we are yet to reach an agreement, the percentage will be effected as we continue with the discussions.