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'Govt. wage offer not enough'

Unions say they want a wage offer that will include a housing allowance.

Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Labour Caucus (ILC) on Wednesday confirmed government increased its salary offer to public servants, but the caucus said the package is still not good enough.

The Public Service and Administration department upped the general pay offer from 6.5 percent to 6.7 percent.

Meanwhile, public servants dropped their demand from 10 percent to 7.5 percent.

ILC spokesperson Chris Klopper said government's revised offer was flawed because it did not include a housing benefit.

"The agreement on the table comprises of 23 items. One of the serious outstanding issues is the housing benefit. We will take a comprehensive view when that is addressed."

Last week, Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said government offered civil servants a nine percent wage hike.

This included government's offer of a 6.5 percent wage increase and 2.5 percent for benefits.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) accused Sisulu of dishonesty for implying the nine percent hike stood alone.

Unions are also demanding a R1500 housing allowance, but the minister's offer means they will only receive R900.

Sisulu said the increases will cost taxpayers R30 billion a year, while National Treasury had only budgeted for a five percent increase.

Civil servants said they do not want to embark on strike action, but may consider it if a beneficial agreement is not reached.