Govt tables new salary increase offers for public servants

The public sector wage bill remains one of the contentious spending items for the government, with plans to slash it proving elusive.

FILE: The public sector wage bill remains one of the contentious spending items for the government, with plans to slash it proving elusive.. Picture: Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News understands that the government has officially tabled salary increase offers of up to 7.5% for the majority of public servants, with some limited to 6%.

Although the chunk of the proposals is leveraged on the R1,000 disposable income introduced last year, if accepted it would benefit some of the lowest-paid workers.

The public sector wage bill remains one of the contentious spending items for the government, with plans to slash it proving elusive.

While the Treasury has budgeted about R20.5 billion to fund the salary adjustments for 2022/2023, the new proposals could see the figure increase by over R7 billion.

Labour unions sent negotiators back to the drawing board after the initial offer of 4.5% or R1,000 after tax last month demanding that the employer should find more money.

Sources in the negotiations told Eyewitness News that when talks resumed on Monday night, an offer of 1.5% cost of living adjustment plus the R1,000 gratuity effective from 1 April was made.

This amounts to a 6% increase.

However, those who qualify for pay progression were offered 3% cost of living adjustments plus the R1,000, which equals 7.5%.

This group accounts for the majority of the 1.2 million public service employees.

Labour unions had tabled initial demands of 10% increases and R2,500 housing allowances among other items, including a disaster pay for COVID-19 that totalled R160 billion.

The unions will likely make compromises on the demands as the trade-offs intensify.

Negotiations will continue on Wednesday.