The South African Government says the majority of Public Service unions have agreed to its interim pay offer, averting the threat of a national strike of Government workers.
The agreement was signed by the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union; the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa; the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa; the Public Servants Association of South Africa; and the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa.
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, the South African Policing Union and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union rejected the offer.
Spokesperson for the Minister for Public Service and Administration, Kamogelo Mogotsi stressed there would be further engagements between the parties and that the interim accord would apply only until a new one was finalised, although that was “open-ended”.
The Government needs to curb its wage bill to meet its expenditure ceiling and deficit-reduction targets, but has encountered opposition from politically influential labour groups representing many of the 1.3 million State workers.
Minister for Finance, Tito Mboweni (pictured) has vowed that any raises must be accommodated within the current fiscal framework, and other expenditure would have to be cut should the budgetary allocations for wages be exceeded.
Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service have both expressed doubts as to whether the Government will be able hold its ground over the next three fiscal years.
The interim accord provides for a 1.5 per cent pay rise and monthly cash gratuities until a final agreement is reached.
The increase and the gratuities is to be backdated to 1 April.
Spokesperson for the Public Servants Association, Claude Naiker said the agreement was a stop-gap measure because negotiations had failed to deliver a binding agreement.
Pretoria, 29 July 2021