Salga claims strides made in municipal wage talks, but Samwu denies it

Facilitator to formulate a detailed proposal to “cover all the areas that are a subject of negotiations”

Ernest Mabuza Journalist
Samwu claims there has been no movement in the salary negotiations with the SA Local Government Association.
Samwu claims there has been no movement in the salary negotiations with the SA Local Government Association.
Image: Picture: 123RF/ANDRIY POPOV

The SA Municipal Workers' Union  (Samwu) says there has been no movement from the employer on a salary increase demand by the country’s municipal workers.

On Friday, Samwu, which represents 160,000 workers, concluded the last round of salary negotiations with the employer body, the SA Local Government Association (Salga) in the SA Local Government Bargaining Council.

The negotiations on Friday followed many rounds held from March this year during which the unions presented demands to Salga, as representative of the country’s 257 municipalities and their entities.

Samwu had demanded a one-year wage increase of R4,000 per month, a R3,500 housing agreement, an 80% employer medical aid contribution, six months' paid maternity leave and one month paid paternity leave.

Salga has offered a 2.8% salary increase.

Salga said on Friday major strides had been made in these negotiations.

Salga said the parties have agreed to extend the negotiations beyond the final round to allow the designated facilitator of the negotiations to “formulate a detailed proposal to cover all the areas that are a subject matter of negotiations”.

“Proposals developed by negotiations facilitators are very often effective instruments for facilitating an agreement when parties have mandated positions that are difficult to reconcile, as this has been the case with current negotiations, as with similar negotiations processes across the public sector,” Salga said.

However, Samwu deputy general secretary Dumisane Magagula said it rejected the offer by Salga.

Magagula said on Friday, Samwu requested the facilitator of the negotiation process to issue her proposal based on parties’ demands.

He said the facilitator’s proposal is supposed to form a basis for an agreement in the bargaining council.

“We are therefore taken aback by Salga's statement that there are 'major strides made in municipal negotiations'.

“The fact that Salga continues to draw a line in the negotiations, insisting on a below-inflation increase and a total freeze on workers' benefits, is indication that parties in the bargaining council are far apart from each other.”

Magagula said for Salga to even suggest that the facilitator’s proposal “may lead to an agreement” is misleading, self-serving and “seeks to create an impression that we are agreeing as parties”.

“We place on record that should the facilitator’s proposal which is expected to be issued to parties on Monday, June 7, not address the fundamental demands put forward by our members, such a proposal will outrightly be rejected by our members who have given us a clear mandate for these negotiations.”

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