'An insult' - Samwu on Salga's 2.8% proposed salary and wage increase for 2021

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A man flies the Samwu flag during a protest in Johannesburg. (Cornel Van Heerden, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)
A man flies the Samwu flag during a protest in Johannesburg. (Cornel Van Heerden, Gallo Images, Beeld, file)
  • Salga has proposed a 2.8% increase, but Samwu says this is an insult.
  • According to Salga, municipalities have been the hardest hit by the pandemic.
  • The union says that its demands remain.

The South African Local Government Association (Salga) has proposed a 2.8% salary increase for 2021 at the SA Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC).

The South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu), however, has called this an insult.

"In the meeting, Salga presented a salary and wage proposal of R233 increase for the country's municipal workers. The offer by Salga comes as a spit in the faces of municipal workers who have carried the country throughout the pandemic and continued ensuring that the delivery of quality services is not disrupted or interrupted despite workers facing the greater risk of contracting Covid-19 in the workplace," Samwu general secretary Dumisane Magagula said in a statement on Wednesday.

In addition, Salga is proposing a three-year salary and wage collective agreement to continue to maintain stability in the local government sector, as well as support the sector's sustainability requirements and objectives.

"Considering that the municipalities' sector has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, these negotiations represent a critical point in efforts to save municipalities from complete financial collapse."

In its proposal, Salga has called for parties to consider the interest-based bargaining approach to these negotiations. This approach ensures that these negotiations deliver outcomes that will support the financial recovery of municipalities," Salga noted in an earlier statement.

The union, however, stated that it is of most significant concern to it that Salga was "hellbent on punishing municipal workers for the coronavirus pandemic".

"The employer further argues that the pandemic almost brought government services to a near standstill, yet they forget that it is the same municipal workers who have and continue to ensure that services are delivered without fail throughout the country," Magagula adds.

READ | Samwu threatens to strike to get higher pay increase

The union further brought up the failure of municipalities to properly collect money that is owed to them.

Samwu is therefore of the view that Salga cannot come to the negotiation table and "plead poverty whereas they are failing to collect billions owed to them".

"We are therefore of the view that these demands are affordable by municipalities, and as such, workers should be given what is due to them," Magagula said.

Samwu said its demands presented to the SALGBC on March 11 remain as follows:

A single-year salary and wage agreement;

R4 000 salary increase for all workers under the auspices of the SALGBC;

R15 000 sectoral minimum wage;

R3 500 housing allowance for all workers;

80% employer medical aid contribution and 20% employee contribution;

25% employer contribution towards pension;

Six months fully paid maternal leave and one month fully paid paternity leave; and

That this collective agreement should include EPWP and CWP workers who report directly to municipalities.

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