South Africa: Public Sector Unions Accept the Government's Below-Inflation Salary Increase Offer


Public servants' trade unions have conceded that the government cannot afford their demands for salary increases in 2021 that amount to more than 8%. They have settled for a 1.5% salary increase and sweetened cash allowance.

The majority of trade unions representing public servants have accepted the government's offer of a below-inflation salary increase and monthly cash allowance, ending a long-standing impasse between both parties that could have undermined efforts to stabilise SA's deteriorating public finances.

About 60% of trade unions have accepted the government's offer, which includes a "once-off pensionable" salary increase of 1.5% from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 for public servants. This is a blanket salary adjustment because it will be offered to all public servants, regardless of their number of years in service or existing salary level.

On Monday, the Public Servants Association (PSA), which claims to represent 23,000 public servants, accepted the government's offer after initially rejecting it and threatening to embark on a general strike that would have shut down public services. At the eleventh hour, the PSA accepted that public finances were under pressure due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent social unrest, which will require the government to bankroll...

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