SOUTH AFRICA: Pay impasse brings first pay strike in over a decade

South Africa’s Public Servants’ Association (PSA) is to launch the Public Service’s first strike over pay in more than a decade after serving the Government with notice of its intentions.

In a further development, Minister for Finance, Enoch Godongwana said the Government’s final negotiating offer of a three per cent wage increase would be implemented unilaterally.

The 253,000-strong PSA said its members had mandated that it reject the Government’s “ridiculous and problematic” offer, leaving the union no choice but to embark on industrial action.

The union’s last strike in the Public Service was in July 2010, when it successfully demanded an 8.6 per cent increase after rejecting the Government’s 6.5 per cent offer.

In a statement, the PSA said the three per cent salary adjustment did not meet the expectation of the union’s members, owing to steep price increases for basic necessities such as petrol, food and electricity, as well as interest rate increases.

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union is the only union that has resolved to accept the Government’s offer.

Meanwhile, Director-General of the Public Service and Administration, Yoliswa Makhasi wrote to Director of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA), Cameron Mogajane asking for the Commission to intervene urgently to break the deadlock.

Announcing the unilateral three per cent award, Mr Godongwana said it was in the best interest of the fiscus and Public Service workers.

“Implementing the increase does not undermine the collective bargaining process, but the Government is grappling with a balancing act between wage increases and additional headcounts,” Mr Godongwana said.

“Front-line services need more employees to keep up with the increasing demand for public services such as education, police and health — which have not increased in line with the growing population.”

Pretoria, 29 October 2022

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