Protesting Nehawu workers. File photo by African News Agency (ANA).

Cosatu’s biggest affiliate and largest public sector union, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), has rejected the government’s plans to freeze public servants' wages.

This follows Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo’s utterances at an investor conference last week that the government was seriously considering freezing public servants’ wage in order to achieve savings in the wage bill.

Nehawu described Masondo’s statements as “ill-advised”.

"We vehemently reject the intended freezing of our members and workers’ wages because Treasury has so far this year spent about R128 billion trying to bail out the shambolically managed Eskom. Workers cannot suffer because of the country’s stagnant economic performance and low tax receipts,” the union stated.

Nehawu warned that it was going to pick a fight with the National Treasury.

"We will also demand to know why Treasury is not reducing the massive funds, growing exponentially going out to tenders and why are they not restructuring the bureaucracy of the free-loading state-owned enterprises,” Nehawu said on Wednesday.
The union warned the National Treasury to stop threatening the livelihoods of the workers and that it will not stand idle while workers are punished for sins not of their making.

"In order to increase productivity and upsurge workers morale, Treasury must desist from such inciting statement with immediate effect,” Nehawu said.

The union has threatened to march to Parliament during Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s budget speech in February to send a clear message to the

National Treasury that it will never enter into any negotiations to reduce the incomes of the public service workers.

”We are more than capable of mobilising society at large for the mother of all fights against the austerity measures by Treasury,” said Nehawu.

Political Bureau