Claim over state pay 'a lie'

2011-02-03 20:30

Johannesburg - The survey which found that public servants earned 44% higher salaries than their private sector counterparts was false, the National Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), said on Thursday.

"This is nothing more than a disinformation campaign deliberately made-up to reinforce the myth that public servants are overpaid and their increases need to be moderated," the union said in a statement.

It was referring to results of a survey done by the SA Institute for Race Relations (SAIRR) which found that one in eight people in South Africa work in the public sector, earning salaries 44% higher than in the private sector.

Nehawu, which is affiliated to the Congress of SA Trade Unions, blamed the media for not scrutinising the survey.

"This flawed information, unfortunately, has been recycled without scrutiny by the unsuspecting media to achieve narrow political goals.

"And, unfortunately, the SAIRR is being used as an authoritative source by the neoliberals to espouse their policies that promote anti-union, anti-worker and anti-social measures."

It was "preposterous" that while the government complained that workers were leaving the public service for better pay in the private sector, the SAIRR's survey showed that public servants were better paid.

Nehawu said a registered nurse earned between R73 371 and R157 312 a year in a government hospital, and between R117,935 and R168,894 a year in a private hospital.

It said the SAIRR had neglected to report about the huge wage gap between senior bureaucrats in government and officials at lower levels.

"Even there, to say they are overpaid compared to the private sector is hogwash," it said.

Nehawu said that in 2008 the top 20 directors of companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange earned an average of R59m a year.

In 2009, the average earnings of an employee in the South African economy were R34 000.

In the public sector, the top 20 directors earned about R6.6m a year.

"The institute needs to tell us about the inequalities that exist between cleaners and researchers and directors, because these inequalities are embarrassing and are the source of the long and volatile strikes they are talking about.

"Their slanted general survey proves that they would rather have the public sector join the race to the bottom rather than see an improvement in the cost of living adjustment."

Nehawu suggested that the SAIRR study the impact on service delivery of the government's failure to fill vacancies in the public service.

  • GhengisKhan - 2011-02-03 20:55

    Die waarheid maak seer.....

  • Tut Tut - 2011-02-03 21:18

    Nehawu, tsk tsk tsk..... let's see: our tealady earns R7k p/m. She also has medical and pension benefits. I work for my local municipality. The tealady at my wife's employer earns R4k. Why? Because that is her true worth. Compare the apples, with the apples, Nehawu. Apples with Apples. No-one worries about the 5 directors you are trying to target. Rather focus on the millions of average workers out there, than try grab headlines in your usual sensationalist way.

  • Realist - 2011-02-03 21:22

    I think one needs to analyse this data more closely. I would not be surprised that at the lower levels this figure is correct. You only need to check wages offered for the 'menial' labour type jobs in the Public Service to find that those salaries are way higher than offered in industry. However, I do not believe that this is the case in the skilled arena. Also look at what MSD's are paid in the Defence Force (also Public Service) and compare it to industry (and please don't tell me that they are being exploited - they are paid extremely well for what they do, or should I rather say don't do)

  • E BRUMMER - 2011-02-03 21:35

    It is a fact,and the proof is me if you need proof. The ANC politicians think if they say something its gospel....there is enough factual information available. the private sector business leaders and normal non political employed will be absolutely disgusted if the knew what staff in and around Parliament are paid, ANC Caucus included.

  • Ivym - 2011-02-04 03:36

    Its a fact. Public servants are way overpaid at all levels. What is even more painful is that most of them are not even qualified and competent for the positions they hold.

  • Mike - 2011-02-04 06:54

    Nehawu, if you are so sure of your figures why not prepare a survey across the board by comparrison. Tut Tut and others have put their position quite well, why dont you do the same, and compare actual cost to the employer, not just salary.

  • arfie - 2011-02-04 07:24

    You should be paid for the service you render, therefore if you are a useless politician and your directorate/department is NOT delivering their service and/or reaching their set targets there should be NO bonuses for staff AND management. The opposite is also true if your department/directorate is reaching their set targets and delivering their service there should be bonueses for staff and management. If you screw up and you get your ass fired there should be NO goldenhandshake, infact your pension should be forfeit in lieu of damages to the place of employment.

  • Piet Viljoen - 2011-02-04 07:37

    Just look at the newspapers. Messenger for local Municipality -R96000/annum

  • 3shot - 2011-02-04 07:59

    Rubbish! Govt health workers are not paid more than their private counterparts. The private facilities easily attract the best nurses and doctors - how? By offering them less?

  • Stephen Twine - 2011-02-04 08:11

    What ever happened to politicians being there for THE PEOPLE not for the huge salaries and benefits and perks and the power ... time to vote in a new regime methinks!!!

  • Tonsil - 2011-02-04 09:31

    Is Nehawu taking the cost to company expenses into account or just salary. Add-ons in the public sector are higher than in the private sector.

  • Johnathan - 2011-02-04 14:19

    I'd like to see Nehawu come up with credible figures (apart from quoting a few specific examples that don't even nearly constitute a representative sample) to PROVE that the previous figures are wrong. They obviously can't even grasp the concept of an "average". They are blinded by their preposterous idea that a cleaner at a hospital should earn the same as a qualified, experienced doctor, or that a tea lady in a govt. department should earn the same as a senior financial officer. What total twaddle!

  • Cor - 2011-02-07 12:29

    Nehawu, plse follow your own advice and check your figures!!! My wife is a registered nurse with 38 yrs experience, works for a private hospital and earns R76 000 p/a including comp contribution to medical aid. This is not even R3 000 more than Government min and MUCH LOWER than your claim for the minimum in private practice.

  • terence.hess - 2012-03-07 17:43

    we,the lower level workers in the public service get the crumbs and if we complain about it we are threatened with our jobs.

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