The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has threatened to shut down government indefinitely and ‘render the system ungovernable’ if Treasury moves forward with its plan to freeze worker salaries.
The threat follows a recent speech by deputy minister of Finance, David Masondo, in which he noted that the country’s wage bill constitutes 35% of the total government expenditure and 46% of the gross tax revenue.
“We are working as we speak with our social and political partners to achieve savings in the wage bill, and in this regard we also have to look at a wage-freezes starting with us public office bearers, top managers, executives at all levels of the state if we are to seriously tackle our looming fiscal crisis,” Masondo said at an investor conference on Monday (2 December).
In response, Nehawu said that it vehemently rejects the intended freezing of its members and workers’ wages.
“Workers cannot suffer because of the country’s stagnant economic performance and low tax receipts,” it said.
“Nehawu would like to send a clear message to Treasury that we shall never enter into any negotiations to reduce the incomes of the public service workers.”
It added that it will consider a decision to convene a march to Parliament on the day of the delivery of the budget speech as we suspect the wage freezing will be announced then
“Failure for the march to yield any positive results we will be left with no option but to mobilise all our members and workers to shut down the government indefinitely and render the system ungovernable.
“Moreover, we are more than capable of mobilising society at large for a mother of all fights against the austerity measures by Treasury.”