Government employees were told to prepare for industrial action after a public sector union declared a deadlock in wage negotiations with the state.
The Public Servants Association, which represents more than 235,000 civil servants, said on Saturday that a revised wage proposal by the government is "absurd and amounts to nothing more than shifting funds."
The state revised its offer using money allocated for pay progression, resettlement costs and daily allowances to fund a cost-of-living adjustment, it said. The union said it would not agree to reduce benefits for public servants and advised its members to prepare for industrial action.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s February 24 budget forecasted 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.