Today's Labour News

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southafricalogoTheto Mahlakoana writes that, despite the fact that public servants tend to earn better than most taxpayers, they are the very employees who turn a blind eye to the looting of state coffers, only to later claim also to be victims of corruption.  

The key argument advanced by the four public sector unions that have rejected the government’s final wage offer is that their members are being forced to carry the burden for wasteful expenditure, corruption and fraud in the state.  In addition to other improvements, the offer of 6% and 7% for 2018-19 and the projected consumer price index plus 1% for 2020-21 was not enough.  This, the unions explained, was because the government had allowed even more money than the demands they put on the table to be funnelled away through criminal means.  That is not to say the unions that have accepted the offer, or intend to do so, were any better.  Collectively, organised labour has failed to step up to the plate as departments and state-owned companies have been transformed into ATMs for the powerful.  In some cases they looked the other way even when their colleagues in the lower tiers dipped their hands into the cookie jar.  It is said to be rather disingenuous to use the very serious problem of corruption as an excuse for excessive wage demands when the economy is under so much strain.  Maybe if public servants had sounded the alarm in time, the country would have been able to keep enough money out of the clutches of the thieves to be able to afford the wage demands that are currently on the table.

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