South African’s Government Workers to Sign 6.8% Salary Increase Agreement
South African teachers, nurses and other state workers accepted an improved government offer to raise wages by 6.8 percent, averting the repetition of a strike that shut schools and disrupted hospital services last year.
The wage offer can be implemented after it was accepted by “81.8 percent of the public service unions,” the Public Service and Administration Ministry said in an e-mailed statement today.
Sizwe Pamla, a spokesman for the 255,000-member National Education Health & Allied Workers’ Union, and Nomusa Cembi, a spokeswoman for the 250,000-member South African Democratic Teachers Unions, confirmed the pay agreement.
The 14 unions representing South Africa’s 1.3 million state workers previously demanded a 9 percent raise, while the government offered 5.2 percent.
Last year, civil servants won a 7.5 percent raise and a 60 percent increase in housing allowances after staging a 20-day strike that followed nine months of negotiations. South Africa’s inflation rate was 5 percent in June.
The national budget, released on Feb. 23, provides for the government wage bill to grow an average 6.6 percent annually over the three fiscal years that began on April 1. That increase includes the cost of hiring additional workers.
The Public Servants Association is still consulting its 220,000 members about whether to accept the government’s latest wage offer, which will be backdated to May 1, said Manie de Clercq, the union’s deputy general manager.
“I do not think that we will get more when it comes to salaries, even if we continue with negotiations,” he said by telephone from Pretoria today.
Workers in the oil and mining industry have won pay increases of as much as 10 percent over the past month, after embarking on strikes.
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