Big victory for state as unions lose bid to force public sector wage increases

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The government does not have to pay out increases to public sector workers, after the Labour Appeal Court handed it a huge win by declaring the implementation of a disputed agreement unlawful, BusinessLIVE reports.

Earlier in December, the Labour Appeal Court heard arguments in the matter in which public sector unions sought to have the final leg of a multi-year wage agreement implemented.

The court case came about after the state refused to implement the final year of the agreement as it does not have the money to do so. The state had penciled in huge cuts to the public sector wage bill in February, and a refusal to pay the increases, putting the government on the war path with unions.

SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) general secretary Mugwena Maluleke — who speaks on behalf of union federation Cosatu unions — was quoted in the Financial Mail as saying the unions are studying the judgment and have already noted constitutional problems in the ruling, which have left members “shocked and angry”.