Unions take state to court over failure to implement wage hikes
The trade unions want the court to order that the salary increases, effective from April 1 2020, be implemented
Public-sector unions have taken the government to court over its refusal to implement a standing wage agreement, which would have seen public servants salaries’ increase in April.
Finance minister Tito Mboweni announced drastic cuts to the public-sector wage bill during his budget address in February. The government, however, did not bring unions on board before the cuts were pencilled into the budget, and the cuts were seen as a declaration of war.
The increases were set to be paid on April 15, but this was not done.
On Friday, the Public Servants Association (PSA), the National Professional Teachers Association (Naptosa), Health and Other Services Personnel trade union (Hospersa), the SA Teachers Union (SAOU) and the National Teachers Union (Natu) filed papers in court to challenge the government’s decision not to implement the wage agreement, which stems from 2018.
The unions have asked the labour court to declare that the failure by the government to implement the salary increases provided in the agreement at the public service co-ordinating bargaining council (PSCBC) was in breach of the contracts of employment of the applicants’ members.
The trade unions want the court to order that the salary increases, effective from April 1 2020, be implemented.
In the founding affidavit by Leon Gilbert, acting GM of the Public Servants Association, he says that while other public-sector unions, such as the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), are seeking to invoke dispute mechanisms, the applications did not agree with this route.
“The applicants’ members have a contractual right to have their salaries increased,” he said.
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