Today's Labour News

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earningsCity Press writes that the state in SA has some of the highest paid public sector workers in the world. The government workforce is almost 2 million.

More than 55,000 public servants earn more than R1 million per year, which is not even performance-driven. Almost half of public servants earn between R350,000 and R600,000 per year. In the medium-term budget policy statement, which Godongwana tabled last week, the National Treasury admitted that the wage bill for public servants was 3.5% higher than the average of 38 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Those countries include Australia, Canada, the US, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. If the percentage of total employees is considered, SA has fewer public servants than countries with high wage bills, such as Norway and Denmark. This means that SA’s public servants’ high compensation levels are the reason for the excessive wage bill, not a higher number of people employed. Since 2013, the average compensation of public servants has grown faster than the numbers employed – mostly due to salary hikes that were higher than inflation. According to Johan Gouws of Sasfin Wealth, from 2015 to 2021 the public service grew by 2.1% and the wage bill by 6.2% per year. Gouws added: “So, it shows there were inflation-adjusted increases every year – whether we had a good year or a bad year.” The high salary increases continued this year and in March an agreement was reached with the trade unions for a 7.5% pay hike in the current financial year. This led to an extra R23.6 billion in expenses that had not been budgeted for in February. In his budget speech last week, Godongwana indicated that government intended to cut spending in the coming financial years by, among other things, “rationalising” the size of the public service.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Liesl Peyper at City Press (subscriber access only)

Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page