04 June 2021
Municipal salary negotiations nearing collapse following SALGA’s continued hard stance.
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) has concluded the last round of salary and wage negotiations with the employer body, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) in the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC).
This was the last round of negotiations following many rounds held from March 2021 wherein the unions presented demands to SALGA as representative of the country’s 257 municipalities and their entities.
Throughout the negotiations, SAMWU has continued to negotiate in good faith while the employer had sought to turn these negotiations to collective begging, they want labour to literally beg for the decent increases.
To make matters worse, from the first day of negotiations, SALGA drew a line on the sand for us, indicating that there are certain issues which they are not willing to compromise. SALGA indicated clearly to labour that they would only offer an increase that is below inflation and that worker’s benefits would be frozen.
The recently held SAMWU special National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting received and consolidated reports from provinces on the last offer made by SALGA in the bargaining council.
Workers totally rejected the offer that was made by SALGA, in fact workers felt insulted and ridiculed by their employer whom they have diligently served and ensured the continuity of service delivery. These are the same workers who responded to the call made by government to ensure that during the pandemic, crucial municipal services are delivered amid the pandemic.
As SAMWU, we can place it on record that in this round of negotiations, there has been no movement from the employer that seeks to address the core issue of these negotiations being a salary increase for the country’s municipal workers.
It is for this reason that SAMWU has in the last day of the negotiations requested the facilitator of this process to issue her proposal based on parties’ demands. The facilitator’s proposal is supposed to form basis for an agreement in the SALGBC.
We are therefore taken aback by SALGA’s statement that there are “major strides made in municipal negotiations.” The fact that SALGA continues to draw a line in the negotiations, insisting on a below inflation increase and a total freeze on workers benefits is indication that parties in the bargaining council are far apart from each other.
For SALGA to even suggest as they did in their statement that the facilitator’s proposal “may lead into an agreement” is misleading, self-serving and seeks to create an impression that we are agreeing as parties whereas such is not the case given the line that workers have been repeatedly told that is uncrossable.
We place on record that should the facilitator’s proposal which is expected to be issued to parties on Monday, 7 June not address the fundamental demands put forward by our members, such a proposal will outrightly be rejected by our members who have given us a clear mandate for these negotiations.
Seemingly, SALGA wants workers to get on their knees to beg for the demands that they have put forward. We are not going to bend over backwards to SALGA on the bread-and-butter issues of our members.
The union is now awaiting the facilitator’s proposal which will immediately be subjected to members scrutiny following which we shall convene a Special National Executive Committee meeting to chant a way forward in the battle to ensure that workers receive decent increases as they so deserve.
As we have said before, if the boardroom is not a conducive environment for the conclusions of these negotiations in the best interest of workers, we will gladly conclude them on the street, a situation which we are being pushed into. Our sneakers are ready for the streets.
Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
Deputy General Secretary
084 806 4005
National Media Officer
073 710 0356