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Samwu ready for pay talks

By Vusi Xaba | 2012-04-25 09:46:21.0

THE SA Municipal Workers Union has presented a list of demands to the SA Local Government Association, setting the ball rolling for this year's round of wage negotiations.

Among its demands, Samwu wants a 15% across-the-board salary increase.

Samwu spokesman Tahir Sema said yesterday that they aimed to meet Salga at the local government bargaining council before the end of next week.

In its demand for a 15% salary hike - which would bring the average monthly salary to R6000 - Sema said the union had to go for a double digit demand because of the ever-rising price of food, transport and services.

"Municipal workers continue to suffer from the effects of soaring petrol and energy costs. Employed workers have to shoulder the burden of unemployed family members as the state has failed to provide meaningful unemployment benefits for the millions of unemployed in this country," Sema said.

He said Samwu would also demand that current vacancies in municipalities be filled and that they want to conclude a one-year collective wage agreement, instead of a two- or three-year cycle they have in place.

However, should the negotiations fail, the union would mobilise its 230000 members nationally, Sema said.

"We will go to negotiations with an open mind and hope that we will reach an amicable agreement. However, taking to the street is always a weapon to force the employer to accede to our demands," he said.

Salga spokesman Milisa Kentane said the organisation was in the process of consulting municipalities on the union's demands to determine if they could afford a 15% wage demand. Negotiations start on May 21.