General view during the civil servants’ strike on November 10, 2022 in Durban.
Gallo Images/Darren Stewart
- Public service unions have accused the government of trying to “manipulate percentages” in its salary offer to public servants.
- On Thursday, the government claimed that its wage offer came in at an average increase of 7.5%.
- However, the unrevised offer consists of a 3% pay increase plus a 4.5% increase in the R1,000 cash stipend earned by civil servants, which could disappear next year..
- For more financial stories, go to News24 Business Cover.
Public service unions have objected to the government’s claim that its final offer in the stalled wage negotiations comes to an average increase of 7.5%.
The unions rejected the government’s offer of a 3% pay increase plus a monthly cash stipend of R1,045 (a 4.5% increase over the non-pensionable monthly stipend of R1,000 currently earned by civil servants).
In a statement on Thursday, the Ministry of Public Function and Administration assured that the offer reached “an average of 7.5%.”
However, the unions objected to this “miscalculation”.
“The government surreptitiously decided to combine the R1,000 stipend and a benchmark 3% increase in its calculations and rounded it up to a fictitious 7.5% increase,” according to a joint statement from seven unions affiliated with Cosatu, the Federation of SA Trade Unions (Fedusa), and the Federation of SA Trade Unions (Saftu),
READ | Government clarifies that ‘final offer’ to public sector unions is 7.5% effective
“Government [is] being false in gerrymandering percentages to sell to the public. Affiliates will only receive an extra 3% on their pay packages as a result of the increase being implemented, not 7.5% as the government is trying to falsely convey,” said a spokesperson for the Health and Other Services Personnel Union SA, aligned with Fedusa. (Hospersa) told News24.
Unions say this is no different from the offer the government tabled at the Public Service Coordination Bargaining Council (PSCBC) in September.
The unions also said the government tried to include the R1,000 stipend it introduced to deal with the consequences of its decision to renege on the 2018 wage deal, knowing it would end in March next year. The government said the stipend could be extended in the next round if the parties conclude current wage talks.
Administration and Public Service spokesman Moses Mushi said if the unions came back to the table, the government was open to reviewing the R1,000 stipend. The R1,000 stipend on its salary offer was extended from March 2020 to March next year and would disappear if a public wage agreement is not secured in time.
READ | Seven public sector unions, representing 800,000 workers, announce a day of strike
Seven unions representing some 800,000 members said they would proceed with their national day of action on Tuesday next week, saying even essential service members were prepared to stop working.
The Public Servants Association (PSA) held a one-day strike last week but said it was prepared to intensify its demonstrations. The PSA said it was considering a boycott of municipal fees and marches on ministers’ homes.