The outcome of the current public service negotiations, where public service unions and the government are heading for confrontation, may determine the labour relations climate for 2018. A negotiated settlement would be a victory for collective bargaining, but a strike by 300,000 public servants would be catastrophic. This looming dispute will create an opportunity for newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa to display his mediation skills. At beleaguered Telkom and ArcelorMittal, negotiations will kick off in February. Telkom has already indicated that it may not be able to grant an increase and a strike is therefore a real possibility. The dynamics of the negotiations could become interesting if the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) manages to recruit the required number of Telkom members to allow it to participate in the negotiations. Salary negotiations at ArcelorMittal will follow on the heels of a retrenchment process. The selfsame militant Numsa is the largest ...

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