Johannesburg - Cosatu affiliate, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), will use President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to increase politicians’ salaries by 3% to push for a 10% pay hike for public servants.
Ramaphosa, this week, accepted the recommendations of the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers to increase the salaries of his deputy David Mabuza, ministers and their deputies, premiers, MECs, MPs and MPLs by 3%.
Mabuza, National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo will earn over R2.91 million a year, up from R2.82m.
According to the determination, the lowest paid politicians in national and provincial government will be MPs in both houses of Parliament with R1.17m, which increased from R1.13m, while MPLs will see their pay improve to R1.13m from R1.1m.
The move has angered Nehawu, which is among the unions demanding a 10% increase across the board on the cost-of-living adjustment at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC).
”We call on the president and his government to do the same for public service workers and pay them their salary increment, as per the tabled demands at the PSCBC,” the union said.
Nehawu complained that since the beginning of the current public service wage negotiations, public service unions had been frustrated by the government at the PSCBC as the state claims it has no money.
”There is absolutely no justification why public office bearers should be getting a remuneration increase, especially with all challenges confronting the country. Instead, they should be putting their energies and focus on getting the country on the road to recovery,” Nehawu said.
The union continued: “What is further infuriating about this increase in the remuneration for public office bearers is that government has been persistent with austerity programmes and reversing the gains of workers by mainly focusing on freezing salaries of public servants in order to reduce the public sector wage bill whilst politicians and judges are to receive salary increases which public servants were denied”.
Cosatu said it was disappointed with the politicians’ salary increases and described the move as a “tone deaf and embarrassing decision”.