Cape Argus

Cosatu to lead Nehawu strike over salaries


COSATU will lead the strike by its biggest affiliate, the National, Education and Health Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), against the government’s refusal to increase public servants’ salaries.

Cosatu spokespers­on Sizwe Pamla told Independen­t Media yesterday that Nehawu has the federation’s blessings and support for its planned mass action next month.

Cosatu was mobilising all public service unions, starting with the health sector, he said.

“We want public servants to go on a full-blown strike,” he said Pamla said the government was not acting as though there was a crisis in the country with public servants contractin­g and succumbing to the deadly coronaviru­s.

According to Pamla, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s letter of intent for the $4.3 billion (R75bn) emergency financial assistance from the Internatio­nal Monetary Fund (IMF) to address the health situation and severe economic impact of Covid-19 included an undertakin­g that the government was succeeding in freezing public sector wages.

Mboweni told the IMF that the government intended to take measures that include further reductions in the wage to gross domestic product ratio.

Pamla accused the government of borrowing money knowing that they were freezing public servants’ wages.

Nehawu’s move comes as unions representi­ng the country’s 1.3 million public servants are challengin­g the government’s failure to implement the wage agreement at the Labour Court and the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council.

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