Willie Vukela, acting director-general of the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), said that it will cost government R282 billion to meet this year’s wage demands of public sector unions.
Speaking in parliament in Wednesday, Vukela said that the figure of R282 billion was arrived at by officials from the department and National Treasury and is based on public sector unions’ demands, reports EWN.
The majority of unions are asking for double-digit increases of between 10% and 12% for employees on levels 4 to 12 in a single-year agreement.
The unions have also tabled a number of other demands, including an increase in housing allowances from R1,200 to R2,500, and for this to be paid to spouses when they also work for the government.
In 2015 government and unions agreed to a 7% pay hike, plus a 1% increase for the next two years.
In October’s mini-budget Treasury showed that the public sector wage bill amounts to 35.3% of consolidated expenditure.
Data published by StatsSA in June found that South Africa’s 47 national government departments spent R137 billion on compensation of employees during the 2015/16 fiscal year.
70% of the R137 billion was taken up by three departments: South African Police Service (42%), Defence (18%) and Correctional Services (10%). All three share one common element: their main function revolves around security.
StatsSA also broke down the data by looking at how much each department pays, on average, per civil servant.
Ranked on this basis, the top spot is occupied by the Office of the Chief Justice, which spent R1.3 billion in compensation during 2015/16. With 1,613 employees under its wing, that translates to an annual compensation of R808,249 per person.
“That is not to suggest, however, that the Office of the Chief Justice is overly generous compared with other departments; rather, it points to a relatively high proportion of senior staff in the department, with the skills and experience to match,” StatsSA stressed.
International Relations and Cooperation takes second spot (R735,976), followed by Parliament (R724,328) and Traditional Affairs (R707,825).
Although the South African Police Service has the largest compensation bill, it is ranked 44th out of 47 departments in terms of average compensation. Employees earn an average of R298,002 per annum.