SALGA smooths municipal wage talks after dispute

SALGA’s offer comes after unions, including the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU), declared a dispute.

The dispute came after SAMWU rejected the same 7% wage increase which the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) accepted.

When a proposal is tabled, a majority of employee representatives is needed to break a deadlock. However, with one union accepting the proposal and the another rejecting it, the process much lead to an offer that is embraced by both in order to settle the dispute.

READ: Treasury blames weak political leadership, accountability for municipal debt woes

Initially Imatu agreed to a 7% increase as per the South African Local Government Bargaining Council’s proposal. SAMWU rejected this offer.

This prompted Imatu to lodge a conciliation process through dispute to be mediated by SALGA.

Thursday’s meeting was intended to interrogate Imatu’s view to resolving the wage talks.  SALGA will hear Samwu’s side in July.

SALGA serves as the employer representative in the talks between workers and employers in the municipal wage and salary negotiations.

READ: VBS Bank loan was for photocopy machines, says Samwu

Municipalities are facing financial pressures on all fronts and will be especially discerning when negotiating with unions for wages which will come into effect from the first of July this year.

In a statement, SALGA said the conciliation process commenced after the two unions referred two separate disputes, using prescribed procedures of the Bargaining Council.

"On Thursday, 28 June 2018, the first conciliation meeting started on a good note, where parties acknowledged the importance of an inclusive approach in the conciliation process in order to bolster the prospects of achieving an amicable settlement," the statement said.

SALGA said its proposals on the first day included an across the board 7% salary and wage increase from 1 July 2018 and a further 0.5% increase from January for employees who earn a basic salary of R9 000 per month or less.

SALGA also proposed an upward adjustment of the percentage of salary increases to the minimum wage, a homeowner's allowance and the medical aid employer contribution of employees.

The SALGA statement said the next meeting for conciliation is scheduled for 16 July 2018.

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