South African Public-Sector Union Warns It May Strike Over Pay

South African government employees warned of widespread industrial action unless the state agrees to increase their wages.

The Public Servants Association, which represents more than 235,000 state employees, on Friday said the government’s plan to freeze pay in the 2021-22 fiscal year “will not be accepted by members,” according to a statement emailed Friday. Negotiations on pay were held on April 15, when the government responded to labor unions’ demands, it said.

“The response was utterly disappointing and an insult to labor as it only responded positively to some issues,” it said. “The PSA wants to make it clear that this process may eventually result in wide-spread industrial actions.”

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in February presented an annual budget that forecast a smaller-than-expected deficit in coming fiscal years. Those targets hinge on the government freezing public-sector salaries over the next three years, with the government proposing a “significant moderation” in spending on wages.

The next meeting between government and labor unions is set for April 23.

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