South African public sector unions take wage dispute to court docket

5 public sector commerce unions have taken the South African authorities to court docket to attempt to pressure it to pay wage will increase agreed as a part of a three-year wage deal, court docket papers confirmed on Friday.

The federal government informed unions early this 12 months that it couldn’t afford the ultimate 12 months of the wage deal struck in 2018.

It saved civil servants’ salaries flat in April, the primary month of the brand new fiscal 12 months, as the price of combating the brand new coronavirus piled additional strain on already stretched state funds.

Many South Africans backed the choice to not enhance civil servants’ pay, within the context of a significant financial disaster brought on by Covid-19 that has left hundreds of thousands probably going through starvation.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has earmarked R500 billion ($30 billion) for reduction, of which practically a fifth is for unemployment advantages and social grants for the poor. Public sector wages make up round a 3rd of presidency spending in a traditional 12 months.

In court docket papers filed within the Labour Court docket and seen by Reuters, the Public Servants Affiliation and 4 unions representing well being employees and academics argued the federal government had breached the employment contracts of their members.

They’re looking for an order forcing the federal government to pay the inflation-linked wage hikes agreed in 2018.

Different unions which are a part of the COSATU federation and are extra carefully aligned with the governing African Nationwide Congress are attempting to safe the wage hikes through arbitration, after early makes an attempt to resolve the dispute in a bargaining council failed.

A spokesman for the Division of Public Service and Administration mentioned the federal government would remark when dispute decision processes had run their course.