The state’s labour appeal court win on the public sector wage bill has saved it from shelling out almost R38bn extra during an unprecedented fiscal crisis, but it may have broader implications than just a one-off cost saving.

Though the real test is yet to come — as the government must face off with unions in new wage negotiations early in 2021 — the court has underscored that no collective agreement that has fiscal implications can be enforced if it is not backed by the National Treasury...

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