Civil service unions back out of wage deal
Labour unions representing most of the country’s 1.3 million civil servants decided to withdraw from a three-year pay deal with the state because of a dispute over its implementation, a union spokesperson said.
While a May 19 2015 accord provides for a 7% rise in salaries from April 1 this year, government departments were told to increase them by 6.4%. State officials said the lower payment was justified because inflation increased less than forecast in the year that ended March 31 2015, meaning workers had been overpaid under a previous three-year pay deal.
“The unions have decided to withdraw from the agreement [until lawyers clarify the terms of the deal],” Sizwe Pamla, a spokesperson for the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), said during a phone interview.
Brent Simon, a spokesperson for the public service and administration ministry, said the government would refund workers if lawyers found that it was not entitled to claw back the overpayment. “The unions are being a bit disingenuous,” he said. The pay deal accepted by the unions in 2012 stipulated that salaries would be adjusted to reflect the actual inflation rate, according to Simon.