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Saftu, Cosatu vow to fight govt plan to reduce public service wage bill

They said Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's budget shows government doesn't value workers and views them as easy targets.

FILE: Cosatu's members marched on Parliament on 19 February 2019 amid concerns over potential job cuts at state entities, like Eskom. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) and Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) have promised to fight government's plans to reduce the public service wage bill.

They said Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's Budget showed that government did not value workers and viewed them as easy targets.

*Budget 2020: Finance Minister Mboweni's full speech

The budget proposes slashing R160 billion from the state's wage bill over the next three years.

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pampla said this was a declaration of war.

"The reality is that consolidated government expenditure includes municipal transfers, it includes agencies like Sanral, Sassa and others but the minister doesn’t have a plan to fix these structures but is targeting public servants."

Saftu's general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said there were other ways to rein in government's expenditure.

“We will see more workers losing their jobs, we will see Eskom being a disaster and we will see most state-owned enterprises unable to get out of the black hole they were pushed in by the tenderpreneurs that were deployed.”

Both federation unions said they would fight any plans to reduce workers’ salaries.

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