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By Kyle Zeeman

Digital News Editor

Parks Tau hints government may intervene in Tshwane wage dispute

Tau said COGTA does not interfere in disputes, but hinted it may.

Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Parks Tau has suggested government could soon intervene in the Tshwane wage dispute.

The fight between the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) members and the municipality has ongoing for month, after the City refused to meet a wage agreement concluded between the union and SA Local Goverment Association (Salga) in 2021 for a 5.4% salary increase from July. It argued it could not afford the increase.

COGTA weighs in

Tau told a briefing of the ANC NEC meeting on Sunday the department does not interfere in disputes, and the power of the minister to call for a resolution is “fairly limited”, but hinted it may occur.

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“You cannot have government over-imposing itself over the central bargaining system. It should happen in the local government system, except in instances where the impasse is having a significant impact.

“Is there an impasse that needs intervention? I expect we are reaching a point where government would need to facilitate a resolution to the Tshwane situation.

“We, as the ANC, are concerned about the extent to which there is an undermining of the fundamental principals of central bargaining in that environment. It is something needs attention”.

He said central bargaining was one of the most significant victories for freedom in the country, and should not be undermined.

“It does not mean that municipalities, as part of the local government bargaining council, are not allowed to apply for exemptions. It is a question whether the municipality that continues to apply for exemption has made it a norm. To seek exemption as a norm and when engaged with workers ignore what the workers are saying.

A ruling and an appeal

The South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC) last month ruled the city must pay the increases, but mayor Cilliers Brink said the city would challenge the order.

ALSO READ: Payday came, but not for all Tshwane employees

“We’ve decided to take it on review to the Labour Court because as much as the bargaining council admits Tshwane is in financial distress and that we are in a difficult position to pay increases, it declined our decision,” he said.

The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu)’s Tshwane chair Melita Baloyi called on the City to “do the right thing by paying salary increases.

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