Cape Town - Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said on Thursday there would be an engagement with the labour movement on the salary wage bill.
“As far as we are concerned there is to be engagement with unions. There is no doubt about it. The question is the content and nature, but I can’t say it now,” Godongwana said.
“I don’t want to be accused by the unions of negotiating via the media. By February, we intend to provide a concrete answer to this question,” he said.
Godongwana made the statement at a briefing with the media when asked about his approach in handling the salary bill.
His predecessor, Tito Mboweni, had held a hardline stance toward the unions as he sought to stop the growing salary bill.
Meanwhile, the National Treasury said the once-off R1 000 non-pensionable cash gratuity for civil servants would cost the government R20.5 billion in the current year with a preliminary carry through of R20.5bn in 2022-23 if no agreement was reached.
The Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) said the gratuity would be largely funded by additional revenue in 2021-22 and would require shifting funds from the Infrastructure Fund with a provisional allocation of R20.5bn for 2022-23.
The budget document said should it be necessary to implement the final leg of the 2018 wage agreement retroactively, additional measures would be required.
“These could include revenue measures, increased borrowing and active steps to reduce the size of the public service.”
The National Treasury also said the government was developing a comprehensive public sector remuneration strategy for the medium term to long term.
“This will include public office-bearers, state-owned companies, public entities and local government. The strategy will seek to better balance competing interests based on fairness, equity and affordability,” it said.