The South African government on Tuesday won a court case over public-sector wage increases that were due to take effect in April but which the government has refused to pay.
In a judgment seen by Reuters, the Labour Appeal Court found it would be unlawful for trade unions to enforce the wage increases, which were promised as part of a three-year wage deal struck in 2018 but which the government said this year were unaffordable.
The court said enforcement would contravene parts of the constitution and public service regulations. But it added further negotiations between the government and unions over a settlement may still take place.
“We have noted the judgment, and I can tell you right now the probable way forward for us to deal with it is in the form of a strike,” said Reuben Maleka, a negotiator for the Public Servants Association union.
Unions representing health workers and teachers under the COSATU federation said they were studying the judgment and would comment later. The National Treasury did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.