Cosatu’s 10% wage increase demand will cost SA R66.4bn: document

Public sector unions have been in negotiations with government at the Public Sector Coordinating Bargaining Council for weeks now.

Cosatu members marching in Pretoria. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)’s National Labour and Economic Development Council (Naledi) says the 10% wage increase being demanded by public servants as negotiations continue will cost the state R66.5 billion.

In the document, seen by Eyewitness News, the research body which advises the federation’s public sector union recommended that wages be increased by between 7% and 10% - citing difficult economic conditions being faced by workers.

Public sector unions have been in negotiations with government at the Public Sector Coordinating Bargaining Council for weeks now.

In the document, titled SA Economic Outlook and the 2022 Public Sector Wage Negotiations, the institution paints a picture of a dire situation for workers as price hikes apply across the board, making the cost of living unaffordable for many.

Although union insiders told Eyewitness News that some of the trade unions were sold on the 7% increase demand - further talks with other organisations including the Public Servants’ Association led to the resolve to demand 10%.

However, Cosatu’s Simon Hlungwani said they changed their posture on the 7% due to members’ mandates.

The problem, though, is that the government has only budgeted about R20 billion towards the compensation bill for financial year in question and would have to raise over R40 billion extra if it were to meet the unions’ demands.

Meanwhile, a 7% increase would cost the state R46.6 billion.