Public servants are to get a 10.5 percent wage increase as of 1 July this year, says Minister of Public Service and Administration, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi.
Delivering her department's Budget Vote in the National Assembly on Tuesday, Ms Fraser-Moleketi said the salaries for employees on salary levels one to 10 and the total packages of employees on salary levels 11 and 12 would be adjusted by 10.5 percent with effect from 1 July this year.
The prevailing wage agreement provides for an adjustment effective from 1 July 2008 based on projected CPIX for the period 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009, plus an additional 1 percent real increase.
"In the specific economic condition we find ourselves, obviously the mechanism we have created for cost of living adjustments is an important one to ensure that the salaries of our employees are not eroded by inflation.
"It does not constitute a restructuring of the salaries of public servants."
Ms Fraser-Moleketi said the Minister of Finance had given an indication with respect to CPIX when he stated in his budget that inflation was expected to average above 9 percent in 2008.
"We need to be mindful that we cannot be mechanistic in this calculation with respect to public servants," said Minister Fraser-Moleketi, adding that "as public-spirited people, we need to agree that the overall sustainability of the economy in general is an important consideration.
"We also need to recognise that what we are seeing is not necessarily a normal inflation cycle.
"Having paid due consideration to all of this, I am pleased to announce this salary adjustment. "
She further said if they have under-calculated the actual CPIX, Resolution 1 of 2007 will provide a safety measure.
"In such an event we will make up any difference by adding it to the salary adjustments that will take effect in July 2009."
She said issue of Conditions of Service of Public Servants was clearly an important issue when it came to retaining the services of the best public servants, to keep them motivated, but also to avoid any pathologies which were associated with public servants who were experiencing financial problems.
These included excessive moonlighting; higher incidence of temptation for graft and corruption, among others.
"At the same time, we know that the rewards of a public-service job is not meant to be the financial package, but the satisfaction garnered from being able to serve in the interest of the public and in many instances the varied nature and stimulation offered by public service jobs."
She commended the larger majority of public servants who are dedicated and doing the profession proud.
"As a nation therefore we should not hesitate to remunerate them adequately for the services they render."
Last year saw an intensive process of wage negotiations. Resolution 1 of 2007, the outcome of that negotiation went much further than only the percentage salary adjustment awarded.
A significant part of the negotiations centred on the Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD), which is a revised salary structure that enables Government to recruit and retain skilled professionals in the public service by providing a clearly defined career path, with regular salary adjustments linked to performance, improved competencies and experience.
OSD for school- and office-based educators, legally qualified personnel and nurses have been finalised with agreements in place and implementation underway, the minister said.
Minister Fraser-Moleketi said the negotiations for social workers had just commenced in the relevant Bargaining Chamber, and the department, with other relevant departments were currently working on the other agreed occupational groupings for special dispensations. - BuaNews