Fat rises for politicians, zilch for workers

It is highly disturbing to know that public-sector workers are considering going on strike for a 12percent wage increase.

It is highly disturbing to know that public-sector workers are considering going on strike for a 12percent wage increase.

These workers have been given a hard time by the employer for too long. Their frustrations are understandable. We wish the strike could be averted or made the very last resort.

We also understand the government's fears that a 12percent increase for all public-sector workers would trigger runaway inflation and disrupt the economic recovery.

But we are disappointed that broad economic concerns are raised only when ordinary workers make demands.

It is disconcerting that the economy of the country seems ready to absorb a 57percent increase for the president, 30percent for the cabinet, 14percent for the judiciary and a disputed 5,4percent for MPs.

We urge the government to take public servants seriously, because if they embark on a strike there is no doubt that what the government is trying to save in financial terms might lead to greater losses in development, political stability and industrial peace.

This is made worse by the fact that some of the services provided by the public sector are essential.

One wonders what happened to the money that the finance minister said he had allocated for the improvement of salaries for teachers, nurses and the police.

Dan Habedi, Azapo secretary general, Johannesburg

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