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By Marizka Coetzer


‘We barely have enough money to go to work’ – Public workers protest 3% pay hike

'They expect us to be happy with three percent but food went up, transport went up.'

Public servants returned to the National Treasury office in Pretoria for a second time to protest against the 3% wage increment implemented without labour unions’ consensus.

Marching members of National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), SA Police Union, Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) and Cosatu said the government still owed them increases from 2020.

‘Not enough’

Lerato Mhlongo from the department of education said they couldn’t do anything with the increase.

“They expect us to be happy with three percent but food went up, transport went up,” she said.

Mhlongo said the increase was less than half of the increased interest rate.

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“Immediately when we get our salary we need to pay our debts like our bonds and cars. After that we have barely enough money left to go to work,” she said.

“Most of us have started little side businesses where we make and sell things at work or after work to make enough money to get to work,” she said.

Workers being ‘ignored’

Nehawu deputy president Nyameka Macanda said workers’ issues were being ignored.

“Workers have been denied a decent wage increase since the signed agreement in 2018. Since then the employer has been ignoring our demands,” she said.

Political lecturer at North West University Dr Benjamin Rapanyane said it was insulting and disrespectful to forcefully implement a three percent wage increment without the consensus of the unions.

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“The wage offer should be rejected at all costs, considering the rising cost of living in South Africa. There is no doubt that the proposed increase is not enough to cope with the current economic conditions in the country,” he said.