Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Local government wage talks head back to conciliation

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Sep 13, 2021

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Johannesburg - Parties at the SA Local Government Bargaining Council will return to a conciliation process this week which may likely see an end to the local government wage negotiations.

The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union have been in protracted wage negotiations with Salga since March.

Talks had failed several times and a facilitators proposal had also failed to see the wage talks conclude.

A final step, through a conciliator, was facilitated last month which saw a recommended wage deal proposal.

A conciliator had recommended a 3.5% wage increase across the board for municipal workers - effective from July 2021.

It also proposed a three-year agreement concluded in 2024.

The report also recommended an added once-off non-pensionable R4000 cash payment for workers earning less than R12 500 and R3 000 non-pensionable cash payment for workers earning more than R12 500.

Parties, Samwu, Salga and Imatu, had until the end of last month to accept the deal. A conciliation process is expected to resume today and tomorrow which may see the proposed deal finalised.

Samwu held a national executive meeting on August 31 and its members gave the mandate to accept the offer.

However, the union remains uneasy over some issues which include the duration of the agreement, payment of the once-off amount to be done by no later than December and no freezing of benefits in the first year of the agreement.

Imatu had already indicated that it would accept the offer.

Imatu's president, Keith Swanepoel, said the union had decided to accept the offer. The union sought a 7% increase and a 1-year agreement.

He said the union's executive would meet on Thursday to agree on signing the offer.

Salga had welcomed the proposal and said it hoped it would bring a conclusion to the matter.

“Salga hopes this development will go a long way in cementing the labour relations so that the sector can return to more pressing matters such as continuing the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, working on improving the financial recovery of municipalities and fast-tracking service delivery,” Salga said.

The organisation said it was also consult with its members and would respond on whether to accept the proposal.

Salga had proposed a 2.8% increase.

For the agreement to be implemented, all parties have to agree on its proposal.

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