This public service strike is really throwing up some interesting aspects in respect of remuneration strategy. I was listening to Geraldine Fraser-Moleketsi on SABC2 this morning and couldn't help thinking that government is now reaping the harvest planted in its labour legislation and complex remuneration structures. The kind you only see in central bargaining agreements.
And that was just for starters. It also seems that gov. is going back to the remuneration strategy of rewarding long service, which is an interesting reversal.
Anyway, sitting there listening to Geraldine trying to explain that a tiny increase in take-home pay actually equated to a 30% increase for some when you factored in housing subsidies, medical aid, long service benefits, increments and all the other bits and pieces that allow her to weave her chinese maths magic - I had to marvel that in a democratic society that espouses freedom, we're not giving much freedom for people to use their "remuneration package" how they see fit.
Geraldine is trying to talk to total cost. Staff are fighting for a better "living allowance and discretionary spend" income.
The remuneration packages are just way to complex. And specifying how large chunks of that package must be spent is arguably an infringement on personal freedoms.
So, Geraldine - do the right thing. Trade down all those forced benefits to give up more cash in hand, and you will have done two great things:
Allowed the people to determine how to spend their own money, and
Reduced the red tape burden and fingers in the till that goes with all these complex benefits.