Trade unions and the SA Local Government Association (Salga) have still not received the written judgment on the disputed wage curve collective agreement more than a week after the Labour Court found in favour of the unions.
A wage curve regulates the salary scales for all state staff.
The judgment will have a severe financial impact on the municipalities and is crucial to current wage talks between Salga, the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu).
The labour courts and high courts are in the second week of recess but Samwu said its lawyer was told by the Labour Court that the written verdict was expected to be available towards the end of this week.
Samwu and Imatu initiated court proceedings against Salga asking for rectification of the 2010 agreement, as it did not reflect what the parties had originally agreed to.
The judgment means that payments to many staff will be backdated to 2009. Salga is doing an assessment of the financial impact of the court order on the municipalities.
Depending on the study’s results, the judgment may have dire implications for the talks, which started in May and continued in Durban yesterday. They met to consider the facilitator’s proposal for a multi-year salary deal, said Salga chief executive Xolile George.
“Our organisation has accepted the facilitator’s proposal in good faith, based on a mandate provided to it by municipalities, and taking cognisance of financial constraints they face, as well as the impact on municipal rates that are already under pressure,” he added.
“To Salga, acceptance of the facilitator’s proposal would bring an immediate (conclusion to the talks), ensure the… sustainability of municipalities, and create an environment of labour peace and stability.”
The facilitator had proposed wage raises of 6.5 percent for 2012/13, a consumer price index (CPI) average plus 0.78 percent for 2013/14 and a CPI average plus 1 percent in 2014/15.
Samwu spokesman Tahir Sema said the union’s committee on Tuesday rejected the proposed 6.5 percent increase. “But we won’t reveal our mandate yet” as Samwu’s strategy at the talks could be jeopardised.
George said it was regrettable that the unions had rejected the facilitator’s proposal.
The unions’ push for strike action was clearly unnecessary given the (current economic) circumstances,” George said.