Today's Labour News

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southafricalogoBusinessLive reports that a senior Treasury official said on Friday that there was no urgency for the government to conclude an agreement with public sector trade unions on a reduction in the wage bill before the February budget.  

Commentators on the medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) tabled in parliament in October by finance minister Tito Mboweni questioned the government’s ability to reach an agreement by February to fulfil the undertaking to reduce the public sector wage bill by R150bn over three years.  The credibility of this proposal was questioned given the limited time available to finalise a wage deal.  However, the acting head of the Treasury budget office, Ian Stuart, said after a briefing to parliament’s two finance committees that if no agreement was reached by February the reduction in the growth in the wage bill could be factored in at a higher level in the two outer years of the medium-term expenditure framework.  “I don’t think we can credibly have a new settlement by then [February],” Stuart said.  He explained as follows:  “We are not anticipating that the whole process that has to be gone through with the normal public service bargaining chamber will be completed by then.  That has to stand.  But a decision can still be taken to set an expenditure ceiling that is lower than what is now in the framework.  This would require a political discussion.  A political decision would also be needed on whether negotiations are opened midway through the term of the public sector wage agreement.”  In the meeting with MPs, Stuart said any wage measures adopted for the public sector would have to apply to state-owned companies and entities as well.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Linda Ensor at BusinessLive

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