Public sector union takes salary increase reversal dispute to Labour Court
Johannesburg – The Public Servants Association (PSA), one of the largest trade unions in South Africa's public sector, said on Friday it had filed a wage dispute at the Labour Court over the government's decision to reverse agreed wage increases due to budgetary constraints.
In his 2020 budget review in February, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said the government would decrease its wage bill by about R160 billion 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.
On Friday, the PSA said the department of public service and administration was bound by an agreement regulating salary adjustments and improvements on the conditions of service in the public service, for the 2018/2019, 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 financial years.
It said an agreement was in place for salary increases for employees from April 1, 2020 until March 31 next year of up to one percentage point above the consumer inflation rate.
"The state as employer has, however, declined to implement the clause and wants to renegotiate the agreement," the public service union said.
"The PSA is opposed to any form of renegotiation. The PSA therefore believes that its members have a contractual right to have their salaries increased as stipulated... and it can only be enforced through the Labour Court."
The association said it was optimistic that it would receive a set-down notice soon in the matter.
In his Budget speech to Parliament in February, Mboweni said high public service wage increases, in some years above inflation, had prevented the hiring of more policemen, teachers and other civil servants to serve a growing population.
African News Agency (ANA)