Categories Business Tech World The court’s dismissal of a public wage increase could bite SA The Vanir-exoduss Post author By vanirexodus Post date March 2, 2022 No Comments on The court’s dismissal of a public wage increase could bite SA The Vanir-exoduss The Constitutional Court’s rejection of the wage hike might have saved the economy billions of Rands, but this could bite the country. So say unions, who believe the Supreme Court’s ruling would likely lead officials to catch up and find “side issues.” Public sector unions have all expressed anger and disappointment at Monday’s court ruling rejecting their bid for wage increases under the 2018 Public Service Coordinated Bargaining Council agreement. ALSO READ: Unions Reported As ConCourt Rules For Government on wage agreement Unions such as the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’… The Constitutional Court’s rejection of the wage hike might have saved the economy billions of Rands, but this could bite the country. So say unions, who believe the Supreme Court’s ruling would likely lead officials to catch up and find “side issues.” Public sector unions have all expressed anger and disappointment at Monday’s court ruling, which rejected their bid for pay increases under the Public Service Coordinated Bargaining Council’s 2018 agreement. ALSO READ: Unions defeated as ConCourt rules for government on wage agreement Unions such as the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), and the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) have all said that the court did not consider that the Ministry of Public Service had already given the green light for increases. Instead, the court sided with the state that the deal would exceed the budget by R30.2 billion, which the government said it could not afford. While this may be good news for the country’s wallets, the only positive thing is that the government no longer has to worry about finding money to fund the wage increases, economist Prof. Bonke Dumisa said. According to Dumisa, the country has bigger financial issues to worry about than funding civil servants, who were not seriously affected by Covid as they managed to keep their jobs. “This [public servants’ wage increase] is a non-issue and even employees themselves hardly talk about it. Only a few are warm under the collar. To use a painful word – this [unions] being selfish. And to expose this, in certain places like licensing centers, employees don’t want to work full-time because they say they have to abide by Covid protocols,” Dumisa said. “Officials in South Africa are in the minority, but in terms of their impact on the tax authorities – it’s a lot. And they are the only people who still had a job in 2020, while many people lost theirs.” ConCourt decision could affect service – unions The Constitutional Court ruling will force officials to seek an additional source of income, meaning they will not focus on providing services to the country. Cosatu spokesman Sizwe Pamla said there are nurses who have registered with private hospitals for extra income, meaning they take time off as civil servants to seek more money. “There will be labor instability because the three-year agreements allowed governments and unions to sign, and [then] we have a period where we don’t have to negotiate. If we have annual negotiations, sooner or later we will clash,” he said. Pamla dismissed comments of Dumisa’s selfishness, claiming officials were the ones on the pandemic frontline. “I don’t take people who say that seriously. These are talking heads. During the outbreak, we had hidden essential workers behind masks and disinfectants. We told those people they were facing a deadly pandemic without a vaccine, when none of us knew how deadly it would be,” Pamla said. “Should correctional officers say they can’t handle inmates? The police are overworked and inadequate – the same goes for nurses.” (1/2) Verdict: Regulations 78 and 79 have not been met, therefore clause 3.3 of the collective agreement is invalid and illegal. (NEHAWU and Others v Minister of Public Service and Administration and Others) pic.twitter.com/T1KORKxGSb— Constitutional Court (@ConCourtSA) February 28, 2022 “Let’s look at the doctor-patient ratio in this country, and the teacher-student ratio in this country. These people’s argument is ideological and not based on the country we live in, which is populated by poor people,” Pamla said. He said those who criticize the public sector pay rise overlook the fact that the government spends billions on consultants. “Over the past ten years, the government has spent an average of R25 billion on consultants and that has not improved service delivery. It has opened up opportunities for people to loot and steal,” Pamla said. Government must take family income into account Despite the court’s decision to save government money, household income remains relatively low, meaning savings are low and the dependency ratio high. The conflict between Ukraine and Russia is expected to increase commodity prices such as food and fuel, affecting households, said University of Johannesburg economist Peter Baur. ALSO READ: What impact will sanctions have on Russia and the world? “The government should still be able to look at the fact that household incomes are low. Because we have these mitigating factors and rising commodity prices, which will be inflationary, they will distort the household income distribution. Instead of putting money into school fees, households will put money into food.” “We have sectors like municipal executives who get huge salaries, but when you talk about low-income workers, every rand and cent counts — and that falls under the security sector, healthcare and people like nurses and teachers,” Baur said. Also read: Highest petrol price ever means looming increases in food prices, inflation Wages of ministers and director-generals not disputed When asked whether top officials and ministers should also get a pay cut for the sake of the economy, Dumisa said this was a conversation the government did not want to have. “People are yelling about this and no one is listening or challenging it… It can be addressed, but there are certain things you can’t say in public about how easy it has been to have an inflated civil servant’s bill. In 1994, when we moved to political freedom, a Director General was given a total cost to the government of R250,000 per year. Today, he earns more than R1.8 million on average. That’s where it went wrong,” he says. But Baur disagrees, arguing that those in top positions were specialists and should be paid accordingly. “We can’t say that, because then you leave behind people who are specialists in what they do and who earn a specialist salary. A teacher has a specialized skill, such as police and nurses. We can be sensitive to unskilled workers because there is a lot of competition, but they are very poorly paid. I think in this case we have to consider their needs,” Baur said. [email protected] Vanir-exodus.co.za ← Court dismissal on public wages could bite SA → State Capture: Justice duo fingered for investigation Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment * Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.