southafricalogoThe Citizen reports that Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu may be facing the first major battle in his new deployment to the national Cabinet as public sector unions intend to fight his plan to freeze civil servants’ wages.  

Having announced salary cuts for Cabinet ministers and members of parliament, Mchunu is planning to extend the process to the entire civil service.  When recently tabling the revised Ministerial Handbook, he said:  “We have taken the position of a freeze in our salaries and have also significantly reduced benefits to the executive in terms of personnel in executive offices, travel, accommodation and security benefits, among others.  We will be engaging with the minister of finance, the relevant ministers of all entities, the relevant national and provincial legislatures and judiciary which all derive budgets from the fiscus to extend similar restrictions to their members and employees.”  But the unions on Tuesday hinted at bringing the public service to a standstill by mobilising members and civil society against the plan.  Their action would include a united protest march to parliament when Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni tables the national budget in February next year.  The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) described Mchunu’s statement on possible wage freezes as “ill-advised” and “nonsensical”.  The union vowed to vehemently reject it and accused Treasury of wasting the money in state coffers by bailing out SOEs.  The SA Federation of Trade Union (Saftu) said it remained opposed to government downsizing, claiming it was not based on any formula to ensure continued provision of services to people.


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