Government rules out salary increases in public sector

21 May 2022 - 09:23
By Ernest Mabuza
Government says it cannot afford the wage demand by unions in the public sector.
Image: Picture: 123RF/ANDRIY POPOV Government says it cannot afford the wage demand by unions in the public sector.

The government has rejected the wage demands of employees in the public sector and is not offering any increase.

It proposed that a cash gratuity of R1,000 a month continue for the 2022/2023 financial year.

Unions in the public sector tabled a wage demand on May 4 and the employer undertook to respond by May 19.

Among their demands is a 10% salary increase, a R2,500 housing allowance, access to the pension fund and a bursary scheme for children of government employees.

In its feedback to its members in the public service co-ordinating bargaining council on Friday, the Public Servants Association (PSA) said the government indicated it has R20.5bn for a salary increment and cannot offer anything beyond what is budgeted for.

The union said the employer, however, had hinted at withdrawing the cash gratuity and using the R20.5bn for a baseline increase, which may not be favourable as it will entail reduced cash in the pocket for many employees.

The government said the housing allowance will increase in terms of the consumer price index.

A bursary scheme for children of government employees is under consideration by the department of higher education & training, it added.

The government also said access to the pension fund to assist during tough economic conditions cannot be entertained at the bargaining council as it should be dealt with at the national economic development and labour council .

“The demand for a 10% increase across-the across-the-board amounts to R49bn and is not affordable.

“Briefly, the employer did not agree with a single demand from labour and proposed that these demands be deferred to the next round of negotiations owing to non-affordability in the current financial framework,” the PSA told its members.

It said the unions had noted the employer's response  and would report back to their principals, adding that labour could only revert to the bargaining council on May 31.