Municipal workers in Tshwane demonstrate outside the Tshwane House demanding salary increases. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Municipal workers in Tshwane demonstrate outside the Tshwane House demanding salary increases. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Imatu rejects ’revised offer’ from Salga in municipal wage talks

By Vernon Mchunu Time of article published May 17, 2021

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DURBAN - MUNICIPAL workers’ wage demands have received another boost, with the Independent Municipal Allied Trade Union (Imatu) also rejecting reported revised offers by the South African Local Government Association (Salga).

In a circular addressed to its members, Imatu joined the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) in slamming Salga’s new 3% - revised from the initial 2.8% - wage and salary hike proposal, for being below inflation.

Although Salga has not publicly confirmed their new offer, Imatu said Salga had, “indicated they may revise their opening offer from 2.8% to 3%, if the trade unions consider their proposal on a total freeze of increases to benefits and conditions of service”.

“Salga, however, stated that this should not be seen as a formal proposal, but rather an attempt to explore options for settlement,” said the union’s general secretary, Johan Koen.

“Salga further highlighted their mandated preference for a multi-year freeze on increases to benefits for year two and year three, if the trade unions will consider entering into a multi-year agreement,” Koen said.

Imatu slammed the municipal employer body’s demand for a total freeze of increases on benefits, saying that it would have significant implications for workers.

“Moreover, Imatu cannot consider Salga’s proposal on a multi-year agreement as the association has not made any proposals on what increases should be implemented in year two and year three of such an agreement.”

Although Samwu did not confirm being party to a newly sanitised version of demands, Imatu said: “the trade unions have decided to consolidate their demands into a single joint trade union demand in order to make progress”.

Koen said the joint demands were a 7% across-the-board increase or R2500 - whichever was the greater - a 7% minimum wage or R2500 - whichever was the greater, a R2000 housing allowance, among others.

Imatu said the unions wanted a single year wage agreement, with the scope covering workers under the Expanded Public Works Programme.

Asked to comment on the revised offers as announced by Imatu, Samwu spokesperson, Papikie Mohale, was non-committal.

“We are in the process of consulting our members. It is only after that position that (consultation) that our position will be solidified. At the moment, we are still negotiating. Our final position will be informed by those consultations,” Mohale said only.

Samwu previously demanded a single year agreement, a R4000 salary increase for all workers, a R15000 sectoral minimum wage, a R3500 housing allowance for all, an 80% employer medical aid contribution and 20% employee input, a 25% employer support towards pension, six months fully paid maternity leave, and one month fully paid paternity leave.

Koen said the parties were “still a long way from finding common ground and significant hurdles remain”.

“Negotiations are ongoing and we expect some intense bargaining to occur during the third round of negotiations,” he said.

Salga spokesperson, Sivuyile Mbambato, said the association would not publicly pronounce on any revised offers at this stage.

“If a municipality has put forward a 3% proposal for us to take to the table, we cannot communicate that publicly since the negotiations are in progress. If anyone decides to publicise what was discussed off-the-record, that’s for them to do that,” said Mbambato.

Deliberations are expected to resume at the beginning of next month in Durban.

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