File Photo: Simone Kley
File Photo: Simone Kley

Municipal workers conditionally accept 3.5% salary increase as more talks expected

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Sep 3, 2021

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The two unions representing municipal workers across the country have conditionally accepted the conciliator’s recommendations as there are several issues that need further discussion.

Cosatu affiliate, the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu), on Friday announced that it has accepted the latest offer to increase local government employees’ salaries by 3.5% in the first year of the agreement and increases linked to projected consumer price index (CPI) in 2022 and 2023.

CPI was 4.6% in July, according to Statistics SA.

However, Samwu has also indicated that its conditions are that the duration of the agreement is adjusted together with the payment of the once-off amount to be done by no later than December 2021 and no freeze on benefits in the first year of the deal.

The conciliator recommended a once-off amount of R4 000 for employees earning less than R12 500 and R3 000 once-off for those earning R12 501 and above, as well as a 0% increase in housing allowance and medical aid cap in the first year of the agreement.

In terms of the recommendations, the proposed freeze will be lifted in the second year of the agreement.

Samwu, the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) and the SS Local Government Association (Salga) will be returning to the negotiating table for conciliation on September 13 and September 14 to discuss the amendments.

“A bargaining committee meeting will be convened on September 15 to consolidate on the amendments that the union had been mandated to make forward,” Samwu said.

The union assured its members that no agreement is signed without their explicit say.

Imatu said both trade unions submitted their responses by August 31 while Salga indicated that it required more time to finalise its mandating process.

”In terms of the responses submitted so far, the conciliator’s recommendation was not unconditionally accepted by all parties. There has also been a request to further negotiate some of the issues set out in the conciliator’s recommendations,” the union informed its members on Thursday.

Meanwhile, parties to the Amanzi Bargaining Council (ABC), which includes Samwu, have accepted a one-year agreement to be backdated to July 1 for a 5.5% salary increase.

The deal will see workers in the country’s 12 water boards also receive a R3 000 housing allowance, a minimum of 10% of basic salary to be paid as standby allowance capped at 14 days, five months fully paid maternity leave as well as five days fully paid paternity leave.

According to the agreement, danger allowance, cellphone allowance and occupational nurses at plant level has been deferred.

The agreement also makes provision for the establishment of a task team to conclude on pension fund contributions, medical aid, tenure of salary / wage protection and shift configuration within three months.

Political Bureau

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