A national strike is on the horizon, after negotiations between the government and public sector unions on salary increases deadlocked.
This is according to a report by the Sunday Times. Cosatu stated it will “embark on strike action” if the government does not meet their salary demands, stated the report.
According to a report by City Press, Cosatu and its affiliated unions have demanded the following from the government:
- R2,500 housing allowance.
- Salary increases linked to inflation plus 4%.
- A risk allowance of 12% of basic salary if workers are affected by Covid-19.
If the government does not provide this, the union said it will declare a formal dispute. If this does not produce the desired result, strike action will be taken.
Cosatu’s threat follows the SAA Pilots’ Association (SAAPA) stating in early April that it will continue strike action against the national airline.
SAAPA represents 89% of SAA’s pilots, and its strike prevents these members from being used by SAA.
In a separate issue, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union and the United National Transport Union have also declared a wage dispute with Transnet.
The dispute arose after Transnet offered a 3% non-pensionable allowance on basic salary as a wage increase.
South Africans in trouble
The threat of strike action comes at a time when the government aims to institute an effective nominal public sector wage freeze over the next three years.
This is so the government can save money on public-sector wages and reduce its debt.
It also coincides with a sharp drop in the economy due to the impact of government lockdowns instituted to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Many businesses were forced to close in 2020, and remain closed – or severely affected by lockdowns – in 2021.
The result is that many South Africans are struggling to get by, and the number of people in debt who are relying on credit to stay alive “has skyrocketed” – according to a report by BusinessTech.