Government has money to pay wage increase demands, says PSA – TimesLIVE

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The Public Servants Association (PSA) on Thursday said the government has the money to pay the increase employees are asking for. 
After a deadlock in negotiations, the government imposed a 3% increase and extended a R1,000 monthly gratuity until the end of March next year.
Thousands of public servants affiliated to the PSA marched to the National Treasury on Thursday to hand over a memorandum of three demands.
The workers say they haven’t received an increase for the past three years.
PSA president Lufuno Mulaudzi handed over the memorandum to Treasury acting COO Laura Mseme.
Their demands include an across the board salary increase of 10% and the extension of the cash gratuity after March 31.
“The first demand is that the single-term agreement for 2022/2023 be agreed upon as the employer has shown it cannot be trusted with a multi-term agreement. Government reneged on implementing a negotiated three-year agreement in 2020. Government’s failure to implement decent salary increases for public servants is the result of years of unabated fraud and corruption with the salary bill being made the scapegoat,” Mulaudzi said. 
The PSA also wants the unilateral implementation of salary increases withdrawn.
“Your memorandum will be taken into the Treasury. It will have the necessary priority and attention and we will respond within the seven days as requested,” Mseme said.
A 58-year-old public servant at the march said 3% is not enough.
“We have children and at the moment, how much is cooking oil? 3% is nothing. It’s similar to not getting anything. They are playing with us. It’s the same as working for free. We cannot afford it. The money they are giving us is similar to pensioners who get R2,000. We are like Sassa [social grant recipients] but the government is giving people who are sitting at home R350. We are suffering. We are in debt.”
Lydia Mashiloane, a mother of three, said she is struggling to afford the basics.
“They are deducting tax and we are feeding grant people; 3% is too little. Transport has increased, food has increased and cooking oil is expensive, so there is nothing I can afford. Even at school, they need school fees.”
Mashiloane said she lives in a cycle of debt. 
“I owe because I don’t get enough money to transport my children to school. They are using transport and I am also using transport; 3% is quite small. They are killing us because at the end of the day we don’t get anything due to tax.”
Zipho Booi said:  “It’s not enough because I travel to work every day. Petrol is always increasing. I have children and I am a single parent, 3% is not enough,” she said.
PSA chief negotiator Jannie Oosthuizen said they would intensify protests if their demands are not met.
“It will be a total stayaway. It will be a total shutdown as we are preparing our march to show the government we are serious. If they are not going to meet our demands there is no other option than to shut down the entire government and stay away.
“For the past three years there was no pensionable increase, which puts the members in dire stress. They cannot survive with inflation, the cost of petrol and electricity. They cannot purchase food and look after their families. The 3% is R261 before tax, before medical aid and before pension contributions. What can you buy with R261?
The employer has indicated they are going to unilaterally implement this 3% whether there is an agreement or not. We regard this as an attack on collective bargaining, the rights of the constitution on orderly collective bargaining. Last year the employer was relying on a majority signature. This year there is no majority signature, they implemented [the 3% increase].
TimesLIVE
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