Fin24

Govt breaks off civil servants wage talks

2012-06-14 08:54

Johannesburg - The government has broken off wage talks with 1.3 million state workers seeking above-inflation pay increases that threaten the government’s ability to keep this year’s budget deficit in check at 4.6% of gross domestic product (GDP), union officials said on Thursday.

“The state has lost patience and terminated bargaining,” said Chris Klopper, spokesperson for the Independent Labour Caucus, a state union umbrella group involved in the negotiations.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), representing 14 state unions with an estimated 1.3 million members, has been pushing for an 8% raise, down from 10% initially demanded.

The government has been offering 6.5%, compared with headline inflation at 6.1% in April.

In its February budget, the Treasury allowed for a wage increase of only 5% for public servants, adding that a ballooning state salary bill was crowding out investment in infrastructure and other key productive sectors.  

Any settlement above 5% is likely to undermine the government’s ability to get the budget deficit in Africa’s biggest economy down from the current forecast of 4.6% of GDP.

Wage negotiations tend to last several weeks in a mid-year bargaining session known as “strike season”, with unions often downing tools to back their demands, disrupting mine production and hitting services in hospitals and schools.

 

Comments
  • Andres - 2012-06-14 09:08

    The unions have gotten out of hand. Whilst I appreciate the desperation all South Africans feel in rising expenses, everyone, including the State, are tightening their belts. The public sector has already been internationally recognised as bloated in South Africa. We CANNOT afford above inflation increases during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The unions are now, acting out-of-step with global pressures and clearly being irrational again. Thanks to the latest ConCourt ruling against SATAWU, strikes will not be violent; if they are violent, unions will end up bankrupt.

      Klaus - 2012-06-14 10:25

      Mrs Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany & her Cabinet received the first increase in 12 years, this year (2012) staggered into 3 tranches - total increase less than 6% A winning Nation ! Her Salary now Euro 17 174.00 per month

      Attie Botha - 2012-06-14 10:27

      Remeber that this raise included doctors and other professionals working for the government. So it's fine for for government to give their doctors and specialists who have spent years training a measly raise while the so called upper echelon who allready pockets well in excess of R1m a 27% raise. Some of these managers now gets allmost R3m a year.

      Alan - 2012-06-14 11:11

      Agreed, Andres. I understand a cleaner in our govt gets paid more than teachers in India and Brazil. We also have a far more bloated civil service than pre-1994, who are also notoriously inefficient. Trade unions have driven up prices to ridiculous levels for the actual work performed, and this just cannot continue. Only 5.5 million South Africans actually PAY personal income tax, which contributes about 35% to the budget. Businesses are already taxed highly, and we all pay massive levies on fuel etc. So there is simply NO money to give massive increases. Especially when over FIFTEEN MILLION people are already drawing childcare grants. Where is the money going to come from? Like Greece, we are all going to have to learn to economise. The days of unrealistic union-driven increases are simply unsustainable. Plain fact.

      edward.gobey - 2012-06-14 12:23

      problem remains top management giving themselves 20%+ inceases (like the mayor of pretoria & jhb).

  • kwbateman - 2012-06-14 09:16

    That is rich from them - while the municipal manager of Jozi gets 4 time more than the target rate of inflation.

  • attie.gerber.1 - 2012-06-14 09:22

    it has come to bite them in the ass paying so called managers massive salaries and the workers peanuts instead of paying everybody a fair salary. why must a municipal manager earn in access of r 200,000 a month plus perks and a worker must be satisfied with 10 % or less than that. even line managers are getting to much money per month. if you distribute your salaries fairly then you can even employ more people as well which can assist with the unemployment problem in the country.

  • Graham - 2012-06-14 09:26

    Unions are hampering growth in SA. Where in the world do you find Unions as strong as these, when we have millions of unemployed? The ANC has created this in their pursuit of votes - and now the entire country will pay the price.

      alansmartSnr - 2012-07-18 20:10

      @ kabelo.leepile .. If you not clued up on economics just google the term "Laissez faire" That would be an ideal program for employed and Unemployed. Employers and Employees. The Unions and our "most modern" Labour laws are the biggest factor in creating unemployment and poverty in this country.. not to mention Cosato's sabatage of the Youth Employment plan.. These factors are so sad!

  • imtiaz.osman.5 - 2012-06-14 09:27

    I don't know how they work out inflation but I can tell you that my living expense went up more than 6.1% this year and my standards haven't change. They should have a scale. Workers earning 10k or less should get 10% increase. Workers earning between 10 and 20k should get 8%. Between 20 and 30k should get 6% increase the higher the salary the lower the percentage

  • farmfreund - 2012-06-14 09:27

    We should get these Union Banned and get a different court system in place to handle labor dispuets Vavi and Friends are the big drive behind invlation in SA

      colin.dovey - 2012-06-14 11:43

      Learn to spell first - what is inviation?

  • Bzeng - 2012-06-14 09:38

    i smel a cosatu strike comin!!

      merven.halo - 2012-06-14 10:10

      So the CBD's are going to be a mess again.

      merven.halo - 2012-06-14 10:11

      So the CBD's are going to be a mess again.

  • H9005 - 2012-06-14 09:43

    The rationale of giving a straight % or R increase in everyone's wages is also not fair. Why must Employee A, who is more passionate about his work get the same as Employee B who does the bare minimum (if that)???

      KReddy - 2012-06-14 11:01

      Performance assessments are done quarterly and employee A will get a once of incentive or merit bonus up to 10 percent or their gross salary

  • ntombizodwa.letty - 2012-06-14 10:06

    Worse than what they can perform for us, some of them they cannt even help u propertly. Vavi is get more from they without doing anything for them, just making noise for nothing. Actually he alway want be seeing on tv that he talk or he can make all of them not going to work, tired of this guy really he can think propertly. They must understand that not only public servant are living in S.A n working alone, more province are going 2b interrupted abt this mindless ppl.

  • cuthbert.murwisi - 2012-06-14 10:06

    The Lindiwe Sisulu era starts now. Next year 2% take or leave it.

  • ronn.lebese - 2012-06-14 10:17

    This government, so arrogant? Viva amaqabane Viva, Viva Cosatu viva! Vivan PSA viva!, Fase ka magundwana fase. Phambele ka 8% and 1500 housing phambele!. Guys cost of leaving is so high! is time to bring the country to stand still.

  • Deon - 2012-06-14 10:23

    Strikes, property damage and unions to pay to follow. If we are lucky a few Unions might have to close down.

  • Sakhiwo - 2012-06-14 10:24

    At one stage the SANDF employees went on unprotected strike under Lindiwe Sisulu management.Now it won't be only one department but all civil servants will go on strike if their demand are not met

  • nkosingiphile.cofu - 2012-06-14 10:37

    This arrogance shown by the employer leaves the gov employees with no other option but to down tools. If we end up with a strike action, it must be understood that we have been forced by the employer. The housing allowance we are offered is an insult to the workers. It must be understood that 8% is a compromise on the side of the workers.

      fussed.anderson - 2012-06-14 10:50

      "down tools" Still waiting for them to start working with them (tools)

      rowan.maulson - 2012-06-14 11:34

      How about you come work in the private sector. We don't get housing allowances, or all these other benefits you talk of. And an 8% increase? I would be over the moon with something like that. 3 - 5% is a bloody good yearly increase, if the private sector actually gives increases.

      rowan.maulson - 2012-06-14 11:35

      How about you come work in the private sector. We don't get housing allowances, or all these other benefits you talk of. And an 8% increase? I would be over the moon with something like that. 3 - 5% is a bloody good yearly increase, if the private sector actually gives increases.

  • Michael - 2012-06-14 10:38

    Waha,they see how flashy the currently advantaged have it which sets president for the rest...I want my bmw and my car and more.Jobs for getting money and not for working

  • chaapo.sithole - 2012-06-14 10:45

    Don't blame them for making the demands on government when they see the leaders and their cronies living it up. For them it means the money is there but it is just not being shared equitably. It is all in the optics - a government leadership that will have all the glitz and glamour e.g.at occasions such as the ANC anniversary and lots on money on the frivolous e.g. the millions on the youth gathering = lots on money to spread around.

  • chaapo.sithole - 2012-06-14 10:45

    Don't blame them for making the demands on government when they see the leaders and their cronies living it up. For them it means the money is there but it is just not being shared equitably. It is all in the optics - a government leadership that will have all the glitz and glamour e.g.at occasions such as the ANC anniversary and lots on money on the frivolous e.g. the millions on the youth gathering = lots on money to spread around.

  • raymond.kok3 - 2012-06-14 10:47

    its on now the folk is unhappy for them to know that a minister gets paid twenty times his salary for talking absolute crap in parliament is too much to accept .i think they should halve their salaries in parliament, think about it they stay for free,eat for free, fly for free and still steal a whole lot through corrupt practices and more so why are we paying them so much

  • mfaniseni.mtolo - 2012-06-14 10:49

    To tired now of this people who only think for themselves whereas it is all of SA citizens suffering. No job opportunities,less increment and more corruption.

  • stephan.coetzee.14 - 2012-06-14 11:09

    Pls ppl don't always take these articles at face value,most civil servants have no problem with the 6.5 % wage increase agreement,the problem is that there are other factors influencing the agreement that have to be settled aswell ,for example the state wants to stop the housing allowances that ppl have been receiving for years...its not much but it makes a difference when buying a home,pls believe me when I say we don't earn enough to buy a house or even afford payments on a decent car. I know many ppl are suffering and we should be glad that we have jobs...but why do u think ppl who can are leaving the civil service ? Its because the salaries really are weak and benefits that use to make it worthwhile are slowly falling away one by one. Why do we always have to fight just to get an above inflation increase or even just to keep what little we had? And did u know the state also wants us to sign a 3 year deal,stating what ever we get this year over the next 3 years we will only receive cpi plus 0.5 % ! And that's on the level inflation is at that moment never over the average off a full year. There's plenty off things accept the general pay increase that we are fighting for...pls get a friend in the civil service and let them explain the details before judging, there are a lot of professional ppl here that makes this country work and only wants a fair rumination. Yes there's a lot of problems too but I promise u most off those are started by the incompetent ppl getting the huge salaries in management post. While we just try and get things done.

  • harold.parsons.37 - 2012-06-14 11:17

    The government must stand firm there is no more money left to give them. Give us work first then give them more fat. These people want more but they do not improve their own performance and service to the public. Currently these people are overpaid. Please do not be bullied by these thugs .We the people are tired of them.

      Eddie - 2012-06-14 11:40

      Thugs!that is way way too much don't u think?

  • Eddie - 2012-06-14 11:21

    Sabc staff to get 9.5 percent.was the sabc nt bailed out by government just recently?why should inflation related salary increase apply to only public servants?

  • sidney.gilroy - 2012-06-14 11:24

    Enjoying your new job Lindiwe ? Hehehehehehe. Just see how much support you will get from Cosatu at Mangaung in December now. Hehehehehe.

  • Shirley Van Heerden - 2012-06-14 11:24

    Blah blah blah!! Same story every year and still service delivery by state departments suck!! Why demand crazy increases if you can't service the public (who pay your salary BTW) with respect and dignity? Thank you for those working hard, but for the rest- get of your butt and earn your salary instead of receiving it only.

  • ayanda.bangani - 2012-06-14 11:32

    Its funny that the govt breaks of from talks, when the very same govt negotiators get exorbant salaries which are way way above inflation, but when its low paid civil servants they just much out from negotiations. Is 10% too much to ask?

      Pieter Du Plessis - 2012-06-14 14:14

      while they sit in the office and members is shot at

  • harold.parsons.37 - 2012-06-14 11:41

    The government must stand firm there is no more money left to give them. Give us work first then give them more fat. These people want more but they do not improve their own performance and service to the public. Currently these people are overpaid. Please do not be bullied by these thugs .We the people are tired of them.

  • Rob - 2012-06-14 11:48

    Strike...for an averaging of salaries that puts a dead stop to any increas above inflation for anyone...force management to set an example. Then performance related bonuses judged against specific target accomplishment....like getting the JHB billing mess under control.

  • jabulane.mndebele.7 - 2012-06-14 12:39

    I think who don't know must just keep quite, even this journalist is talking nonsense. The issue here is not with the percentage but it that the govt wants to remove the R900 housing allowance in September. The top management do get this housing allowance, which means all the ordinary worker will suffer seriously if that is implementation. We have the document in our hands members & union are not disputing the percentage but the salary cut which will affect millions of ordinary workers. So please keep quite if you don't understand....

  • ettiene.j.marx - 2012-06-14 17:27

    Die staking kan maklik gekeer word deur die staat.Al wat hulle hoef te doen is om nie die huis eienaars toelaag weg te vat nie.Dan sal die meerderheid staats amptenare gelukig wees met die aanbod

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