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Cosatu: Workers not scapegoats for SA's economic crisis

The organisation said it saw Finance Minister's Tito Mboweni's budget as a challenge to labour and has again rejected government's plans to claw back on the public wage bill.

Cosatu begins its march against job losses at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Johannesburg on 13 February 2019 with protest songs and dancing. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said it would not allow government to use workers as a scapegoat for the country's economic crisis.

The union held a media briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday, following its three-day central executive committee meeting.

The organisation said it saw Finance Minister's Tito Mboweni's budget as a challenge to labour and has again rejected government's plans to claw back on the public wage bill.

*Budget 2020: Finance Minister Mboweni's full speech

General secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said: "Poor regions rely proportionately on the public service employment and cutting wages of public servants will intensify poverty and regional inequality in South Africa."

In his budget tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, Mboweni announced plans to trim government spending by slashing the public sector wage bill by close to R160 billion over three years.

The move is expected to draw the ire of labour unions who have vowed to push back against any attempts to reduce employee remuneration.

WATCH: All the ups and down of the Budget Speech 2020