Johannesburg - The newly-formed South African Police Allied Workers Union warned on Tuesday it would mobilise a mass protest should the government follow through on plans to slash the public sector wage bill by about R160 billion.
Presenting the 2020 budget to Parliament last Wednesday, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said the government would decrease its wage bill over the medium term as part of efforts to lower spending and narrow a budget deficit projected at 6.8 percent of gross domestic product for the 2020/21 financial year.
"Should the department of public service and administration implement the plans of the finance minister ... Sapawu will mobilise all the unions in the public sector to embark on a mass action to fight this war against the proletariat," the union which was formed last year said.
"If the finance minister wants to serve the economy of this country, he must find money somewhere else not to play with the public servant’s money."
It claimed government employees were the worst paid workers in South Africa and that cutting the wage bill would "paralyse" them, warning that "whoever is declaring war against the working class ... must be ready to take a punch".
President Cyril Ramaphosa has backed Mboweni's proposal, stressing however that cutting the public wage bill by R160 billion over three years would not be done by reducing salaries, but rather curtailing the rate at which salaries were hiked.
African News Agency/ANA