Public servants wages increase by 80% in ten years

Treasury said on average, government salaries rose by six percent after inflation over the past decade.

Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Members of Parliament (MPs) have heard that the average wage of a public servant has increased by 80 percent in real terms over the past 10 years.

Treasury official Michael Sachs was part of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene's team at a post-budget briefing at Parliament on Thursday afternoon.

Sachs said treasury was concerned about the outcome of public sector wage talks.

Unions tabled initial demands for a 15 percent increase, but the budget only allowed for an inflation-linked increase.

Sachs says on average government salaries rose by six percent after inflation over the past decade.

"The average remuneration of a public servant has increased by 80% in real terms over the last 10 years."

Sachs said for 60 percent of employees, salaries automatically went up a notch each year.

"That's not sustainable."

Treasury's pinning its hopes on moderation in the wage talks so that efforts to trim the budget deficit aren't derailed.

"If we were in the private sector we'd be asking if productivity would go up 80 percent."

Government's wage bill accounts for 34 percent of this year's R1,24 trillion budget.