EDITORIAL | Public servants’ unions need to wake up and smell the raises
Unions need to be realistic and accept this latest revised wage increase from government for the sake of the economy
The government has offered public servants a revised wage increase as threats of a nationwide strike loom. The latest peace offering might just be the best outcome for a tricky situation that could cost SA even more if it takes the wrong turn.
In February, finance minister Tito Mboweni drew a line in the sand with public service unions during his budget speech, when he insisted on moderate increases for public servants. His tough stance was applauded at the time. Finally, he was aligning wage talks with SA’s fiscal position and prevailing economic conditions.
Months of deadlocked negotiations followed. Unions were understandably upset, while government negotiators — also understandably — stuck to their guns. Now a new offer is on the table, an offer that might just get the government out of the tight spot it is in. It cannot afford — literally and metaphorically speaking — to steer away from Mboweni’s directions of a moderate increase; neither can it afford a nationwide public servants strike...