The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) says government must shoulder the blame for the looming nationwide strike in the public sector.  

This comes after wage negotiations between the public sector unions and government deadlocked last week.  

Talks between the two parties have deadlocked over the employer’s proposal to increase salaries on condition that workers forfeit some of their current benefits.  

All public sector unions have rejected the offer.  

Saftu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has accused government of humiliating public sector unions. 

It’s telling them that by the time you come to the table, we have nothing to tell you because we have already told the public that we are going to deal with all the crises created by others. This is a direct consequence of the government cutting R261-billion-rand from its budget in line with its commitment to the austerity program. Government has R101-billion from the salaries. 

In the video below, unions demand a 7% increase:  

Public sector should not be excluded 

Labour Federation COSATU says the public services sector should not be excluded from wage increases as government had allowed for some State-Owned Enterprises and Parliamentary workers to receive salary hikes. 

COSATU’s chief negotiator for public sector unions Mugwena Maluleke says, “There are frontline workers who have been there for our people, rendering certain services. They must explain how they managed to give the Parliamentary workers an increase in the midst of the pandemic and the SOEs the go-ahead to give 6% increases. We were in the midst of the pandemic last year but they don’t give the public servants increases. What process did they use to give to some and not to the others?”  

Public Servants Association Manager National Manager Claude Naicker says they expect the government to make a revised offer. 

“Should the employer not meet our demand of proper salary increase, the union will have no option but to declare a dispute and embark on industrial action. Once we declare a dispute on Friday the 23rd of April a process of conciliation will take place over 30 days, should conciliation fail then we have an option of embarking on a strike.” 

-Additional reporting by Mbongeni Muthwa