Mchunu hopes solutions is found in wage negotiations
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Cape Town - Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu says he hopes the unions and government will find common ground on the wage negotiations after they stalled.
Mchunu told Parliament the wage negotiations were important for all the parties involved.
Cosatu and the Public Servants Association have been locking horns with government over the last few weeks but the latter declared a dispute.
Cosatu yesterday said it wants a solution to the negotiations.
The government has proposed a revised wage offer of 1.5% with a gratuity of almost R978. The unions were initially demanding 7%.
Other parties in Parliament also called for a resolution to the impasse.
Mchunu, who was delivering his budget vote speech yesterday, said they want a solution to the negotiations.
“Currently, government and organised labour in the public service are in negotiations and we hope that the parties will find one another,” said Mchunu.
Mchunu also said they want to trim the wage bill.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni had said they want to cut the wage bill by R300 billion in the next three years.
Mchunu said while they want to cut the wage bill, they should not compromise on other key positions in government including health, education and police.
“We would want to state for the record, that we do not have overall, a bloated public service however, we need to address the wage bill and increase the number of public servants in some sectors such as education, police and health,” said Mchunu.
The DA said the government’s decision to offer the unions a 1.5% increase would cost it R15.6 billion, which was not budgeted for.
DA MP Leon Schreiber said the government had caved in to the demands of the unions.
“Instead of long-promised cuts to the wage bill, they now plan to increase the wage bill by at least R15.6 billion. Nothing ever gets done. The gap between the government’s rhetoric and the South African reality has become a gaping chasm. When you cut through all the hot air that wafts out of the Union Buildings, the reality is clear: this government is incapable of getting anything done,” said Schreiber.
EFF MP Ciliesta Shoana Motsepe said the workers must not back down on their demands for a wage increase.
She said the government had decided to freeze the wages of public servants in 2018, and the workers were entitled to the increases as there was an agreement that was struck with the unions.
She said they back the decision of the unions to want increases for workers because their salaries cannot match the increasing food prices and other necessities.