Trade unions on Wednesday lambasted North West premier Supra Mahumapelo for his alleged plan to cut public servants pay in the province.
“The Congress of South African Trade Unions [Cosatu] is deeply concerned by the reports coming from North West that the premier of the province, Supra Mahumapelo is planning to unilaterally cut salaries of public servants,” said spokesperson Sizwe Pamla.
“The federation warns the premier to desist from interfering in matters that are not in his domain. We will not allow him or anyone to undermine collective bargaining agreements and violate the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. While we strongly support fiscal prudence and belt tightening ,especially by political office bearers, we will never allow any unilateral fiddling and interference with workers salaries by the provincial administration.”
He said any attack directed at public service workers in the North West would be regarded as a direct attack on Cosatu.
“We will have no problem in shutting down the North West administration if it ill- treats public servants and sees them as easy targets and scapegoats for the dire economic situation in the country.”
The New Age reported on Tuesday, that the province contemplates salary cuts, however the North West government has dismissed the report.
“This article is a complete distortion and misrepresentation of facts. The journalist asked about the salary cuts and we made it clear to him that salary negotiations are a national competence and that the province takes cue from national processes,” said spokesman Brian Setswambung.
“The provincial government led by premier SOR Mahumapelo fully understands that South Africa is not a federal state and that salary negotiations are a product of collective bargaining…”
He said there was no intention on the part of provincial government to entertain salary discussions at a provincial level.
The SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) said it was regrettable that the premier makes such pronouncements, which have policy implications, outside of the relevant platforms.
“We view this as another attempt, by those that have been lent the opportunity to lead, to undermine collective bargaining processes.
“Such a pronouncement, if indeed eventually implemented as policy, will inevitably have adverse effects on those public servants. It is thus unacceptable that the leader of the government in the North West province can make such a pronouncement before even engaging those likely to be affected, through the relevant platforms,” said Mugwena Maluleke, general secretary.
He said they view Mahumapelo’s alleged comments as a populist stance and an act intended to divert attention from the real problems in the province that led to the R2.9 billion irregular expenditure in the last financial year.
The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) in the North West said has noted with shock the reports that provincial was aiming to cut salaries of public servants.
“It has become a norm that whenever capitalism finds itself in crisis poor workers must bear the brunt, in this case workers shall refuse,” said provincial secretary Patrick Makhafane.
“This act will present itself as an unprecedented act to undermine collective bargaining as a hard won victory of the workers because the current salaries of public servants are a product of salary negotiations between worker representatives in a form of trade unions and the employer at the level of PSCBC [Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council] and for a provincial government to prepare itself to act in a federal manner which seeks to undermine this process suggest that workers and their organisations are being undermined.”
He said union members cannot be compromised because of the government’s inability to tackle and overcome challenges of maladministration, lavish lifestyle by politicians, poor planning and corruption that has produced the unfortunate situation which has resulted in the depletion of financial resources.
– African News Agency