Deadlock: Countdown to union deadline as government scrambles to stave off public wage dispute

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Minister of Public Service and Administration, Senzo Mchunu.
Minister of Public Service and Administration, Senzo Mchunu.
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Monday's call from Minister of Public Service and Administration Senzo Mchunu for South African citizens to help government get to the bottom of the public wage impasse between government and public service unions has not been met kindly by organised labour, who have dismissed it as a stunt.

The already fraught public sector wage talks chilled even further last week as unions dismissed government's proposals on the matter as "absurd". The current public service wage bill has been flagged as a significant fiscal challenge by Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni.

In his budgets for 2019 and 2020, Mboweni made extensive proposals for coming to grips with the wage bill's growth rate. However, organised labour is agitating for an above inflation increase while government maintains the recession and pandemic-battered fiscus cannot afford this.

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