Municipal workers want minimum R10k salary, as municipal pay talks start

South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) wants municipal workers to earn a minimum wage of R10,000 per month, the union said on Monday.

Trade unions representing municipal workers tabled their initial demands at the wage negotiations with the South African Local Government Association (Salga), the employer body which represents municipalities across the country.

“The negotiations which are currently underway at the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC) are as a result of the main collective agreement signed in 2015 coming to an end in June 2018,” Samwu’s general secretary Simon Mathe.

He said trade unions have submitted joint opening demands to the employer body which include a single year agreement, an across the board 15 percent salary increase or R3,155, whichever is greater.

The unions further demand a R2,000 housing allowance for all employees and a R10,000 minimum wage for all municipal workers, as well as all benefits and conditions of service linked to salaries to increase by the same percentage as the across the board salary increase.

“The presented demands are a response to the situation which municipal workers find themselves in. We are convinced that municipal workers should be better remunerated so that they are able to keep up with the rising cost of living. We will therefore fight hard to ensure that municipal workers get increases which would enable them live a better life than they currently are, particularly given the fact that they are the least paid government employees,” Mathe said.

The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) which also demand basic monthly salary of R10,000 said the first round of salary negotiation in Durban would be difficult.

“Negotiations are expected to be difficult and will in all likelihood require a great deal of skill, resilience and resolve. We however, have every confidence that our negotiators will be able to rise to the challenge and arrive at a beneficial settlement in the interest of our members and the sector as a whole,” general secretary Johan Koen said.

Koen said Salga opening proposal suggests a five year agreement including a 4.6 percent salary increase in the first year, followed by an increase of 0.25 percent for the remaining years.

“Currently Salga is offering no increase to the minimum wage and suggesting that the sector’s housing allowance increase be adjusted by the same percentage as their suggested salary increase.”

He said they believed demands tabled were a good stating point to open negotiations.

“We have taken account of the rising cost of living, economic conditions of the country and the impact thereof on the disposable income of our members. We have also analysed the financial position of municipalities and we believe that we can provide clear motivations and make a business case for our demands.”

– African News Agency (ANA)

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