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Unions angry over Mboweni’s bid for 3-year wage freeze for state workers

The trade unions have stopped short of calling Mboweni a liar, saying that his assurances that labour was being consulted about the three-year wage freezes were untrue.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivers his Medium-Term Budget Policy Speech in Parliament on 28 October 2020 in Cape Town. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Public sector unions say Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's proposal to freeze the wages of state employees is a blatant disregard of collective bargaining and has demonstrated government's disrespect towards workers.

On Wednesday, the minister announced during the tabling of the mid-term budget policy statement that the Wage Bill would be the biggest contributor to the R300 billion savings they want to accumulate to address the budget deficit.

However, this has left unions livid.

The trade unions have stopped short of calling Mboweni a liar, saying that his assurances that labour was being consulted about the three-year wage freezes were untrue.

Mboweni said Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu was talking to labour about the proposed changes. However, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the Public Servants Association (PSA), among others, say there have been no such conversations.

Reuben Maleka of the PSA said: “I can tell you, the last time we saw the minister was in March before lockdown. So, you can see that he is not telling the truth.”

Instead, the unions are still waiting to table their demands at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council where negotiations are taking place.

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