Govt concerned about threats of strike

Government says it has already sought legal assistance to address grievances raised by the unions.

FILE: Around 10,000 people marching through the Pretoria city centre calling for better wages in the public sector on 23 April 2015. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Government says it is concerned by threats of a strike by public sector unions following the implementation of a lower wage offer than agreed to.

Last month, government and unions agreed on a 7 percent pay increase and a medical aid contribution of 28 percent.

Now unions have suspended the wage agreement saying they were misled by the Public Service and Administration Department which has only increased salaries by 6.4 percent.

Government says it has already sought legal assistance to address grievances surrounding its amended wage increase and doesn't understand why there are now threats of a strike.

Public sector and administration spokesperson Brent Simons said, "We note with concern the statements made by the public unions when in fact those very unions are part of a legal process."

Unions say the department acted in bad faith by implementing a wage increase lower than what was agreed upon.

Government has said while it's working to find a solution unions have signed a binding agreement which they cannot go back on.

Acting Public Service and Administration Minister Nathi Mthethwa has warned that a strike by public sector unions will further cripple the struggling economy.

Mthethwa has called on union leaders to try by all means to avoid a strike.

"Leadership must play their role to ensure that it doesn't happen."