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Cosatu irritated by Treasury's attacks on public servants' right to living wage

The trades union federation is among a string of organisations, lobby groups and economists making submissions on the Mid-Term Budget Policy Statement at Parliament.

FILE: Cosatu parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks. Picture: @SACTWU/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - Cosatu said Treasury should stop attacking public servants’ right to a living wage.

The union said if the government wanted to save on its salary bill, it should cut the fat from the top.

The trade union federation was among a string of organisations, lobby groups and economists making submissions on the Mid-Term Budget Policy Statement at Parliament.

Cosatu was especially stung by the focus on the state’s wage bill, which at 35% of GDP was deemed unsustainable.

“I think as Cosatu we are quite irritated by the continuous attacks on public servants’ right to earn a living wage. The problem is not nurses who earn R180,000 (per annum) or police officers who earn R200,000 (per annum). The bloated nature is at the top level,” said Cosatu parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks.

Parks said the rising wage bill was due in a large part to exorbitant packages paid to the executive and to management.

He added that Treasury failed to mention that civil servant numbers had remained more or less constant over the past 25 years while the population had grown significantly.

“We really wanted to see Treasury come with a plan to reduce fat on top, to reduce the number of deputy ministers from 34 to five, reduce the number of MPs and councillors. But we’re quite pleased the minister finally agreed to come and engage labour at the Public Bargaining Council, because we’re ready to engage.”

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