File image: Dumisani Sibeko

Russtenburg - The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) wants municipal workers to earn a minimum wage of R10,000 per month, the union said on Monday.

Trade unions representing municipal workers tabled their initial demands at the wage negotiations with the South African Local Government Association (Salga), the employer body which represents  municipalities across the country. 

"The negotiations which are currently underway at the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC) are as a result of the main collective agreement signed in 2015 coming to an end in June 2018," Samwu's general secretary Simon Mathe. 

He said trade unions have submitted joint opening demands to the employer body which include a single year agreement, an across the board 15 percent salary increase or R3,155, whichever is greater.

The unions further demand a R2,000 housing allowance for all employees and a R10,000 minimum wage for all municipal workers, as well as all benefits and conditions of service linked to salaries to increase by the same percentage as the across the board salary increase.

"The presented demands are a response to the situation which municipal workers find themselves in. We are convinced that municipal workers should be better remunerated so that they are able to keep up with the rising cost of living. We will therefore fight hard to ensure that municipal workers get increases which would enable them live a better life than they currently are, particularly given the fact that they are the least paid government employees," Mathe said.

In 2015, Samwu signed a three-year agreement with the employer, with a seven percent salary increase across the board in the first year of the agreement and consumer price index plus one percent (CPI +1% )  for the remainder of the agreement.

Minimum wage was set at R 6 014.93 with effect 1 July 2015.