One of the unions representing government officials is threatening to close all public facilities – including government hospitals and clinics – if workers do not receive salary increases this year.
The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) has asked workers to prepare for “a national closure” if civil servants do not receive salary increases on April 1.
This trade union and trade union federations held talks with the government last Tuesday in the Coordinating Bargaining Council for the Public Service where the government proposed a 0% salary increase.
This comes after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced in his budget speech in February that the state intends to cut its salary bill by R160bn over the next three years.
If the government fails to fulfill its part of the agreement by April 1, a national closure is inevitable. In light of the coronavirus, it will not only be felt at the local level, but also at the national and provincial levels, a statement issued by the union said.
Nupsaw, who represents more than 100,000 civil servants along with two affiliate unions, says they reserve the right to go to court to force the government to grant the salary increases.
The union is accusing the government of trying to use the salaries owed to civil servants to pay off the huge government debt stemming from corruption and interference with government departments while protecting the looters.
“In an economy like South Africa, amid the worsening Covid-19 pandemic, there is simply no excuse for the government to pay insufficient money to workers whose efforts thrive on public amenities. The South African government must take steps to put the needs of the officials first, ”Nupsaw spokesperson Kagiso Makoe said in the statement.