Lindiwe Sisulu

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"This is very important as it allows government to budget properly and also provide necessary time to implement all elements of the agreement."

She said the agreement would allow the government to start improving the conditions of service of public servants.

The government and public sector unions signed a seven percent wage increase on Tuesday. The increase is with effect from May. For 2013 to 2015 the increase is the Consumer Price Index plus one percent.
It was further agreed to amend the qualifying period for pay progression from 12 to 24 months for new public service employees.

Sisulu said processes towards the government employee housing scheme were still being finalised.

"We are also committed that all employees and their families must have access to medical insurance. To this end we have tasked the Government Employees Medical Scheme to reach rural public servants and to ensure that all public servants and their families have access to medical insurance."

The Federation of Unions of SA said the settlement was a win-win outcome for workers and the state.

"It shows that our unions and their members are in touch with the realities facing our country, and that we can trust them to deliver the services expected by our citizens," general secretary Dennis George said.

However, the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers criticised the deal. It said the unions which had signed the salary agreement had not been honest with their members.

"They are confusing first-time participants with new entrants in the public service," said general secretary Success Mataitsane.