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Collision course with unions likely after Tshwane’s proposed zero wage increase for municipal workers

Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink and Finance MMC Peter Sutton. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/ African News Agency (ANA)

Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink and Finance MMC Peter Sutton. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 19, 2023


Pretoria - The proposed zero wage increase by the City of Tshwane is likely to put the municipality on a collision course with municipal workers.

The unions SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union were yesterday locked in a meeting with senior City officials over this week’s announcement that workers were unlikely to get salary increases in the next financial year.

The Pretoria News understands that unions were unhappy with the possibility that their members would not receive salary increases.

At the time of publishing, union leaders were yet to communicate their formal standpoint on the proposed 0% hike.

Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink, said the City’s wage bill was already exorbitant, with at least 39% of the municipal budget spent on salary payments.

Finance MMC Peter Sutton said the metro would apply to exempt itself from paying municipal workers a salary increment for the 2023/24 financial year. He said the stance was also informed by the national Treasury guideline, which advised the City to reduce its expenditure by 30%.

Sutton expressed hope that officials would understand the rationale behind the non-payment of salary increases because they were also Tshwane residents familiar with the financial challenges faced by the municipality.

“The major thing in that budget would be the proposed 0% salary increase for councillors as well as officials, and that is due to the liquidity situation we find in the city and with the national Treasury guideline that we need to reduce expenditure,” he said.

He added that processes would be followed with the local labour forum to ventilate the matter once the budget was adopted.

Sutton said the City had an unfunded budget for a number of years.

“The city has historically been in an unfunded budget situation, and the national Treasury wants us to correct that in the next three years by reducing the expenditure by 30%.”

Early this year, the national leadership of Samwu warned its members to brace themselves for the battle ahead due to expected deadlocks on salary and wage negotiations this year.

The union leaders called on their members to be active participants and mandate the union for increases “in line with the forever increasing cost of living”.

“Our members should be prepared for the battle ahead, especially given the austerity measures which have been adopted by the government.” the union leaders said at the time.

Pretoria News