Unions say court ruling on 2018 wage agreement riddled with errors in law

Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said that the findings, if left unchallenged, could lead to a situation where Treasury could at any point pull out of wage agreements with employers in the state.

FILE: Sadtu members joined other unions in a march to the Unions Buildings on 4 December.  Picture: @_cosatu.

JOHANNESBURG - Public service trade unions said that they were concerned that Treasury was upgraded to a super ministry by the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) when making a ruling about the 2018 wage agreement.

The unions have approached the Constitutional Court seeking to appeal the LAC’s December judgment which declared the 2018 wage agreement unconstitutional and invalid after the Finance minister successfully argued that his office had not given the deal a thumbs up.

The unions, including Nehawu, Sadtu, the Public Servants Association and Popcru, said that the LAC’s ruling was riddled with errors in law and understanding of public policy.

The ruling followed a protracted battle over the government’s unilateral decision not to increase wages as per the 2018 agreement, with initial reasons being that the state could not afford to foot the bill and ultimately, as the court heard, that the entire agreement was null and void.

Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke said that the findings, if left unchallenged, could lead to a situation where Treasury could at any point pull out of wage agreements with employers in the state.

The unions further argued that the court was also wrong in its failure to grant an appropriate remedy after it found the agreement was invalid and unconstitutional.

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