Cosatu: ‘We’re not going to entertain an across-the-board wage freeze’

Plan to slash public-sector wage bill needs to focus on ‘overpaid senior executives and politicians’.
Protesters during a Cosatu demonstration against corruption in 2017. Image: Rogan Ward, Reuters

Labour federation Cosatu rejects any plans around an across-the-board salary freeze for public sector workers, its national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla told Moneyweb on Thursday.

Reacting to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s medium-term budget speech, he called for the focus to instead be on reducing compensation for higher-paid senior management within state institutions as well as politicians.

Read: Mboweni finally moves to slash government wage bill

“We are not going to entertain an across-the-board wage freeze of public sector workers.… The National Treasury must focus on overpaid politicians as well as senior executives and management within government departments, state-owned enterprises [SOEs] and other agencies,” he says.

According to Pamla, Treasury is targeting consolidated public spending in terms of its current public-sector wage-cut plans in light of the economic crunch caused by Covid-19.

This has seen government freezing pay increases of most public servants this year, including frontline workers such as police, nurses and teachers.

“Unions have gone to court to force government to implement the third leg [year] of the binding three-year wage agreement [signed in 2018],” he says.

Cosatu national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla. Image: Supplied

“Consolidated government spending comprises total expenditure by national and the provincial government, social security funds and selected public entities, including transfers to municipalities or other entities,” he notes.

“Therefore, consolidated government spending on remuneration is distorted as it is all-encompassing, going well beyond the wage dispensation determined at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council [PSCBC],” Pamla explains.

He believes Treasury’s austerity strategy is “narrowly and almost exclusively focused on the wage bill” relating to the PSCBC.

“Frankly, we don’t take what the minister [Mboweni] says seriously in terms of across-the-board wage freezes for public sector workers … because we don’t negotiate with the Treasury, we negotiate with the Department of Public Service and Administration [DPSA],” he adds.

“Currently, there are no negotiations underway even with DPSA, due to the previous wage deal being in the labour court. Public sector workers have not been given their agreed-on increase [CPI + 1.5%], which was meant to come into effect from April 1,” he notes.

Pamla says while there are some aspects of Mboweni’s medium-term budget that Cosatu welcomes, the MTBPS was “not bold or imaginative” enough.

“Some positives include the adoption of [the] social compact proposed by Cosatu at Nedlac, allowing financially-distressed workers to tap into part of their retirement savings due to Covid-19 – and the extension of the R350 grant for those worst affected by the pandemic.

How about cutting wasteful and irregular expenditure …

“However, if government is genuine about overall cost-cutting plans, it would look more seriously at reports from the Auditor-General around wasteful and irregular expenditure within government, SOEs and other agencies,” he notes.

Read: Makwetu flags UIF Ters/Sassa benefits paid to government officials

“Consultants are earning millions if not billions of rand. We have been calling for government to stop the unbridled use of consultants.

“In addition, many state agencies are run like corporates, with boards and expensive management structures, but are mismanaged,” he adds.

“We should be cutting costs here first, before the salaries of frontline and lower-paid public servants.”

Teachers union Sadtu told Reuters that freezing civil servants’ pay is “not implementable”.

However, the union was more vocal in a Twitter post, saying the 2020 MTBPS “is a slap in the face” to the hardships that working educators and public servants face…




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Heheheeee — buying popcorn !!

Hey cANCer, YOU knowingly created this monster, now YOU sort out the %^*^*^$!!!

@casper1 The sad part is you and I are paying to watch this B grade movie.

The fiscus cannot entertain providing increases to an ever more non-productive LABOUR, especially at a time of Covid-19 and economic catastrophe.

Cosato have to learn two things:

1) They have been part of the growth destruction story and the corruption.

2) They need to grow up and be more adult like and start their own party.

And learn that if there is R xxx to pay salaries then you can pay y employees what they currently earn OR y minus 10% employees a salary increase of 10%. Simple maths exercise.

Make the cake bigger, free the economy to run on it’s own demands and supplies. Less control, not more WILL CREATE MILLIONS ON JOBS.

Go and toi-toi and show your displeasure by not wearing masks. Seems to be the local mentality to try and spite someone.

Unions keep worthless employee’s employed. It ma have been a good thing back in the 50’s

It’s all in the sign the lady in the photo is holding: CREATE DECENT JOBS.
Who are they asking to do that? How do they believe decent jobs are created?

I want a job; but I don’t want to wek

The fact is that Public Servants already have more-than-decent jobs – overpaid by as much as 58% compared to the equivalent in the private sector. No, Cosatu, what your toyi-toying brigades need to ask for is remuneration commensurate with the work they do. Then they will all have their salaries cut by 58%. Which would benefit South Africa enormously, seeing as 38% of our budget is swallowed up by this bloated, overpaid monstrosity created by Zuma to ‘make jobs.’

And then once their salaries have been cut by 58% they need to put in a full day’s work.

Very true. Africans from other countries on our continent may wtach this news & think….geeslike, South Africans have much nicer jobs than us (in Malawi, Uganda, etc).

Local Africans complain too easily. Life is too lekker comfy in Mzansi!

While Cosatu makes valid points regarding the inflated salaries for senior management at SOEs and politicians, it wont be enough just to freeze their salaries. The public service is hopelessly overstaffed due to incompetence because it takes 3 people to screw in a lightbulb.Did any public servant take a pay-cut because of lock-down or were retrenched? Nope, the private sector had no option but to curtail staff costs. For a government/municipal worker it was the sweetest job to have.

Grow up Cosatu and be realistic.

And…………….here we are. The kids have got the pin halfway out the hand grenade.

Halve the size of cabinet. Get rid of deputy ministers. Do we really need 400 MPs? What about 200? What about 50?

Exactly … fat and lazy, spending their time snoozing through parliament …

No more than 100 required … at the most …

In addition;
1. Get rid of Provincial Governments.
2. Get rid of Municipal Councillors.

When it comes to confronting the unions, the results of 25 years of disastrous ANC policies are forcing Cyril Ramaphosa to become Margaret Thatcher.

Will Ramaphosa be man enough to be Margaret Thatcher, or will the unions walk over him? This question remains to be answered.

He might be halfway there.

I doubt he has a pair.

He will have to put on some bully-boy panties.

No chance; Cyril comes from a trade union background despite his current fatcat status.

I think the unions are a symptom of bigger societal issues which SA won’t ever fix.

Technically unions shouldn’t matter in SA as our laws, as imposing as they are, affords workers a lot of protection. But then u look at the income skew and how our societies adherence to law and order is a rare occurrence and then yes.. it does see, like the only way to get what u want is by force.

i.e. fixing the union issue in Sa, like with most problems here, require fixing society which there is no appetite for amongst those that need to do it i.e. wealthy and politically connected. So in the wild wild west we continue and with unions wrangled merely for political reach and expediency

In a society where accountability, individualism, morality and ethics are foreign concepts, to be frowned upon, every individual monetises his small position of power. This is a society of rent-seekers who steal from each other.

The labour laws give power to unions, and they monetise this power through militant labour action and unrealistic wage demands. The voters give power to politicians and they monetise it with state capture and rampant corruption. The voter is empowered by the constitution, and they monetise that power by demanding free water, sanitation, transport, schools, medical services, social grants and by squatting on private land. The politician empowers some with BEE laws and those beneficiaries monetise their power by loading tenders. Municipal employees en workers at SOEs monetise their small positions of power by plundering the assets of the state.

The unemployed vagrant owns a knife and he monetises that power to hijack, rob or rape. Everyone monetise their positions of power. Zero display of character, only shameless opportunism and exploitation. This is the definition of barbarism.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln

Cyril was a trade Union Leader !! Maggie was not : Comparing Apples and Pears : He needs to change but thats like asking a leopard to change its spots !!

Good point, Cosatu, on politicians and ceo’s exorbitant salaries.

Government employees earn on average 58% more than private sector employees. (Mike Schussler)

Your job protection strategies have near bankrupted the country.

Government is borrowing money to pay salaries. A very bad policy.

We would’ve had billions of rands available if we clamped down on corruption and wasteful expenditure sooner and harder. The issue of government vs unions will solve itself. The available budget to provide services and to pay state employees will continue to decrease each year as our debt burden grows. This will clip everyone’s wings and pit politicians, managers, unions and employees in the civil service against each other. It’s going to get ugly but the soft options are gone.

Guess what…….I’m not going to pay your salaries by withholding my tax…hahahah!

This is what comes from fighting so hard to preserve the SOE’s like SAA. Fellas there is only so much in the kitty so be careful what you wish for.

Oh, and of course Govt will capitulate – they have done so every time the Unions have drawn a line. Remember, the recent (2019) Govt stance that there would be zero increases for Eskom employees. Please prove me wrong if you can.

Funny 🙂

ZERO degrees of freedom remaining for the Treasury…. and this lot still wants to demand increases

Ag shem….cut the number of communist cadres who sponge of the free market tax payers for a start, sunshine!

The world owes you nothing, comrade!

They don’t need to give them a pay freeze.They need to get rid of 30% of them

If Mboweni and government have any backbone they would let Cosatu make the choice – reduce number of staff equivalent to the amount that needs to be saved over the next three years. Freeze salaries and perks for 3 years and constructively reduce headcount to ensure no growth in headcount after 3 years, and no massive wage increases. Its the old adage if you play in a cesspit be aware of what will stick to you

Oh do give it a rest you jumping, jiving communist ejits!

“Frankly, we don’t take what the minister [Mboweni] says seriously in terms of across-the-board wage freezes for public sector workers …”
This says it all. Now see what the rating agencies say.

No work, no pay & no jobs.

End of comments.




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