Pretoria - The City of Tshwane has lost a bid to exempt itself from a salary and wage collective agreement with workers’ unions for the 2021/2022 financial year.
This came after the municipality had made an exemption application at the SA Local Government Bargaining Council. The SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union opposed the application, and the bargaining council's ruling went in their favour.
Workers demanded a 3.5% salary increase, and their trade unions argued that the municipality was abusing the exemption process. They also said there was a deliberate delay on the part of the City to submit its exemption application. Samwu regional secretary Mpho Tladinyane said the union’s role was to defend collective bargaining agreements.
“In supporting their case, the City provided a 1600-page document to both bargaining council and unions. They further appointed an attorney and a senior counsel to plead their case. Noting the extent of work on the matter, Samwu appointed a chartered accountant and an attorney to defend members’ interest,” Tladinyane said.
He expressed satisfaction that the City’s application was dismissed by a senior panellist after considering both oral and written submissions.
Tladinyane said: “Understanding the current hardships faced by employees, and further considering that money is an emotive issue, we hereby call on the City of Tshwane to implement the outcome of the bargaining council without delay and boost the morale of workers.”
He said workers had been waiting for six months for salary increases and were committed to assisting the City to collect more revenue. He urged union members and councillors whose accounts were in arrears to visit their nearest customer care centres to make necessary arrangements for payments.
The City, on the other hand, had indicated that it was not about to back down on its move to be exempted from paying salary increments. In an internal memorandum to workers, acting city manager Mmaseabata Mutlaneng said: “It is our view that the decision reached by the panellist was incorrect and must be contested.” Mutlaneng said clause 18.14 of the main collective agreement allowed the City to lodge an appeal with the bargaining council within five days of the ruling.
“The City has decided to exercise its right in terms of the agreement and to lodge a formal appeal. The provisions in the agreement state that the bargaining council must convene the exemptions appeal tribunal within 14 days, whereafter, the tribunal will render a decision within 30 days,” she said.
Mutlaneng added that the panellist agreed with the unions and dismissed the City’s application without considering the merits of the application.