Pretoria: Acting Public Service and Administration Minister Nathi Mthethwa says government is only prepared to increase public servants salaries by 5.8 percent.
However, Minister Mthethwa said government was still willing to negotiate with unions when negotiations restart next week.
Addressing the media in Pretoria on Friday, Minister Mthethwa explained that the offer includes improving Government Employees Medical Scheme aid subsidy from 17.6% to 28.5 percent, introduction of three days for paternity leave for public service employees. Family responsibility leave for public service employees who have children with severe special needs would also increase from two to three days and the housing allowance would go up from R900 to R1200.
Minister Mthethwa noted that government’s wage Bill is currently sitting at R400 billion and is projected to grow to R437 billion in the 2015/16 financial year.
“Any increase beyond what is budgeted for will lead to borrowing for recurring expenses such as salaries and impact negatively on operational budgets of departments, infrastructure development, employment creation and service delivery.
“For this reason, the employer believes that the current offer is fair and reasonable and takes into account the current economic situation of our country whilst sufficiently cushioning the salaries of public service employees from the effects of inflation,” he said.
He also said the state, as an employer, remains optimistic that the conciliation process will reduce a mutually-beneficial outcome.
Cosatu and its affiliates have demanded a 10 percent wage hike, against government’s offer of 5,8 percent .
The unions, along with the Public Service Association, have been in discussion with the Department of Public Service and Administration since last year.
Initially, the unions demanded a 15 percent wage increase and a R 3000 housing allowance. The state put up a 4, 8 percent increase on the table but unions want nothing less than 10 percent. On Thursday, thousands of public servants marched to the National Treasury to put pressure on government to give into their wage demands. The parties have until the first week of May to find common ground before the current conciliation lapses.
SOURCE: South African Official News