No salary cuts planned‚ North West government says
North West premier Supra Mahumapelo’s office has denied that the provincial government would be cutting public servants salaries in 2017‚ after an outcry by the Congress of SA Trade Unions and its affiliate the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu).
Spokesman Brian Setswambung said the North West government understood that salaries were a national competence and could not be negotiated in provinces since South Africa was not a federal state.
“If an agreement is reached at national level our responsibility is to implement it‚ whether it is about salary cuts or increases. We know that once an agreement is reached at that level it is a product of thorough consultation with all stakeholders involved in the terrain‚” he said.
The backlash from the trade federation and the union‚ followed The New Age newspaper’s report that the province would cut salaries of senior employees as part of its efforts to scale down on expenditure in 2017.
Cosatu on Wednesday “warned” Mahumapelo not to interfere 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‚” national spokesman Sizwe Pamla said.
Nehawu in the North West echoed Cosatu’s sentiments saying the move to cut salaries would negatively impact collective bargaining.
“Our members’ socio-economic well-being 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 this unfortunate situation which has resulted in the depletion of financial resources and hence Nehawu says it can’t be our members who must pay the price‚” the union’s provincial secretary Patrick Makhafane said.
The North West has reportedly not had a clean audit in five years. The auditor general’s 2014/15 report showed that not one of the province’s municipalities had obtained a clean audit.
Setswambung said the newspaper report which led to Cosatu and Nehawu’s reaction was a “misrepresentation” of facts.