Samwu rejects facilitator’s proposal in municipal wage talks

Ernest Mabuza Journalist
Samwu has rejected proposals made by the facilitator in the municipal sector wage talks designed to break the deadlock in negotiations. File photo.
Samwu has rejected proposals made by the facilitator in the municipal sector wage talks designed to break the deadlock in negotiations. File photo.

The SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) on Wednesday formally rejected a wage proposal put together by a facilitator to end the deadlock with the employer in the local government sector.

The union had earlier this month received the facilitator’s proposal in the salary and wage talks for workers in the country’s 257 municipalities.

The proposal was presented to Samwu, the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) and the SA Local Government Association (Salga) after the parties failed to reach agreement during wage talks.

After receiving the proposal, Samwu last week accused the facilitator, Naledi Burwana-Bisiwe, of bias towards the employer.

The unions and Salga have until Wednesday to communicate to the SA Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC) whether they accept the facilitator’s proposal.

“Samwu has formally rejected the facilitator’s proposal. We have formally communicated our decision today to the SALGBC.

“We are concluding our processes of balloting and should have a way forward before parties reconvene on July 1,” Samwu spokesperson Papikie Mohale said on Wednesday.

The facilitator was called in after talks between parties in the SALGBC were exhausted and the parties requested the facilitator to issue her proposal since they could not agree.

If one of the parties rejects the facilitator’s proposal, negotiations move to a process of conciliation, which has two options.

The first is arbitration, and the other is the issuing of a certificate of non-resolution of the dispute, which means unions are at liberty to go on strike.

The facilitator had proposed the parties agree a three-year salary and wage agreement.

She also proposed a 4% salary increase in the first year of the agreement and projected CPI minus 1% increase in the outer years of the agreement.

She proposed a total freeze on all benefits to municipal workers in the first year of the agreement and said these will be fully unfrozen in the last year of the agreement.

Samwu, on the other hand, 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.

Sivuyile Mbambato, spokesperson for Salga said the association was preparing for an extended round of negotiations set for July 1.

“We have, over the past few days, been engaging and consulting with municipalities in all provinces on what they think about the facilitator’s proposal,” Mbambato said.

He said Salga will present its mandate based on the outcomes of the consultations.

“We will present our offer in the bargaining council in the next round of negotiations,” Mbambato said on Tuesday.​


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