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Civil servants to govt: We'll down tools if salary increases are frozen

COVID-19 and the lockdown have crushed many companies, leaving the already battered economy in a difficult position to recover.

FILE: Workers protest as public sector unions seek to strike a wage deal on 19 May 2015. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Civil servants have threatened to go on a national strike if government's plans to freeze their salary increases for the next three years actually materialises.

During the tabling of the mid-term budget policy statement on Wednesday, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced the wage bill would be the biggest contributor to the R300 billion savings government wants to accumulate to address the budget deficit.

COVID-19 and the lockdown have crushed many companies, leaving the already battered economy in a difficult position to recover.

However, Treasury said civil servants' salaries have grown by about 40% over the past decade.

The wage bill accounts for about one-third of the consolidated budget.

The Public Servants Association (PSA) said it was not that difficult, government must recoup the money lost as a result of corruption as taking money from workers was simply not fair.

The PSA’s Reuben Maleka said if government doesn't come to the party and give them an increase, they would meet them in the streets.

“Just because we are getting an above-inflation salary, doesn’t mean we are super-rich. Get the money from Bosasa, the Guptas, municipalities all the money that has been looted.”

But government spokesperson Phumla Williams said it was time unions take responsibility for the country's corruption most of which has happened at the hands of its own members.

“I want to see a union that takes responsibility for the situation we find ourselves in with corruption.”

The PSA said unions would be meeting on Friday to discuss the burning issue.

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