Johannesburg - The Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union (YNITU) has raised concerns about the difference between the lifestyles of government ministers and public servants.
The union complained that while public servants are cheated out of earning fair salaries, ministers are treated to comfortable homes and other benefits on top of their salaries.
The union’s secretary-general, Lerato Mthunzi, said public servants were the backbone of all government services and should be treated with respect by the government.
YNITU was one of the unions that participated in the national day of action with several trade union federations, including Cosatu, Fedusa, and Saftu.
"Workers deserve a double-digit increase because these ministers are living in the lap of luxury from our sweat and our hard work. They receive generous packages, and their lifestyles are fully subsidised by hard working workers in the public sector. YNITU rejects governments' attempts to impose a 3% increase on workers," Mthunzi said.
Mthunzi said nurses and other healthcare professionals were also poorly treated and demotivated by their working conditions. She called on the government to rethink its initial offer to public servants.
"Healthcare workers are very poorly paid, and they risked their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic with no PPE, while working very long hours in poorly resourced hospitals. A strike is long overdue to teach this government a lesson, because they have abused workers for far too long," Mthunzi said.
YNITU was part of hundreds of workers who staged a day of action in protest of the current wage dispute between the government and public service workers. The impasse between the government and workers was expected to affect government offices and essential services. Workers are demanding 10% salary increases.