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Govt tables revised wage offer to public sector unions

The state had earlier tabled an offer of 5.8 percent and EWN understands the new offer is around 7 percent.

Cosatu House. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu)'s Public Sector unions say government has made a revised wage offer during conciliation talks described as serious and productive by negotiators.

The unions as well as members of the Independent Labour Caucus met with the Public Service and administration department on Monday night.

The state had earlier tabled an offer of 5.8 percent and Eyewitness News understands the new offer is around 7 percent.

However, last month, Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene said any wage increase greater than the 5.8 percent inflation rate that the government offer is based on cannot be financed through debt issuance.

He the government would need either to reallocate funds from elsewhere or cut jobs, he said.

Nene said wage demands by public sector unions would cost the government an extra R20 billion over the next financial year.

Cosatu's chief negotiator Mugwena Maluleke says the recent march through Pretoria's CBD proved to be effective.

"After the march on 23 April we've seen a changed mood by the employer which the employer became very serious because from 5.8 percent they were able to revise that particular offer as compared the beginning of the year where we were jumping on one place."

The drawn out wage talks have put more pressure on Africa's most developed economy, which is already suffering from widespread power shortages and high unemployment.