'It's about the principle,' says Cosatu about government salary increases
-3% salary increase for public officer bearers has been approved
-Cosatu has slammed the salary hike as unfair to struggling public service workers
-The union believes the salary increases will widen the wage gap
At a time when ordinary South Africans are buckling under the pressure of inflation and a struggling economy, more of the wage pie will be given to public office bearers. Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced salary increases of 3% for public officer bearers. This would include members of the executive, premiers and their MEC's, judges, traditional healers and chapter nine institutions. The recommendations were made by the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office-Bearers.
Trade union Cosatu has slammed the wage increase, saying it will compound existing inequalities.
Refilwe Moloto spoke to Cosatu Parliamentary Coordinator, Matthew Parks.
They [public officers bearers] have made the argument that inflation is eroding their salaries and eating into pensions. All of that is fair. But this is the very same politicians who imposed a wage freeze on nurses, teachers, police officers and other public service workers by giving them a below-inflation increase and who've been making a noise about the public service wage for many years. So if this was a problem, why are they giving themselves an increase?Matthew Parks, Cosatu Parliamentary coordinator
Deputy President David Mabuza will now pocket more than R2.91 million a year, while ministers and deputy ministers will earn R2.47 million and R2 million respectively. Premiers will take home R2.3 million.
Parks said its a matter of "principle" as government had been adamant that the wage bill was unaffordable.
We should be asking if we still want this huge wage gap where ministers earn R200 000 a month whereas a cleaner, if they're lucky, will earn that in a year.Matthew Parks, Cosatu Parliamentary coordinator
Public service wage negotiations are still taking place for the current financial year. Parks said the recent wage increase for public office bearers will be taken into account.
I expect government will be in for a difficult time to convince public servants to accept anything less than what is being given to politicians. When you have negotiations in public service, you look at the collective because everyone's affected by inflation.Matthew Parks, Cosatu Parliamentary coordinator
Parks believes the level of productivity and output between public office bearers and public service employees cannot be compared.
Have politicians been productive? Under their watch government is being run to the ground. State capture and corruption is ballooning, state-owned enterprises collapsing and municipalities being destroyed by mismanagement and corruption. Society is paying the price of the state.Matthew Parks, Cosatu Parliamentary coordinator
Scroll up for the interview.
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