Public sector unions have given the government until Wednesday to return to wage negotiations with a reviewed offer or face the possibility of a strike. The talks started eight months ago and the unions want them concluded. The ultimatum came after government facilitators at the talks unsuccessfully requested a postponement to May 3. A new wage agreement should have been concluded by the end of March. But incessant delays blamed on the government have led the Public Service Association (PSA), which represents 230,000 workers, to declare a dispute. Though unions affiliated to Cosatu and the Independent Labour Caucus have not gone the route taken by the PSA, their leaders said on Tuesday that they were being pushed in that direction. "We reject the postponement and have decided to start from May 3. We will be embarking on pickets as a precursor to a total shutdown," Cosatu unions representative Mugwena Maluleke told a press briefing on Tuesday. He said the unions would not afford the ...

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