Trade unions, investors and economists are all awaiting the unveiling of government’s new Public Sector Remuneration Strategy with bated breath.
The strategy will spell out government’s new approach towards reducing the country’s Public Sector Wage Bill, which is viewed by investors and credit rating agencies as a serious risk to the country’s financial stability.
In his Maiden Mid-Term Budget Policy Statement in parliament last week, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said the National Treasury was now busy finalising the new strategy ahead of beginning a new round of wage talks with public sector unions early next year.
This as government is caught between a rock and a hard place having to cater for trade union demands for better pay on one hand, and the urgent need to reduce rising public debt on the other.
Economist Dr Azar Jammine from Econometrix says, “The new strategy will set out a new framework for the remuneration of the country’s 1.3 million civil servants, including workers in State-owned Enterprises and even municipalities. It comes as the Public Sector Wage Bill has been growing significantly in recent years despite the number of civil servants not growing much in the last decade.”
No date has been set for unveiling the new Remuneration Strategy. And, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana last week declined to comment about the new round of public sector wage negotiations until the Remuneration Strategy is finalised.