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SAMWU Rejects SALGA Salary and Wage Proposal

7 December 2017

The first round of salary and wage negotiations between the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) and the employer body, SALGA have concluded at the South African Local Government Bargaining Council. In response to the economic conditions that municipal workers find themselves in, trade unions have submitted joint demands to SALGA which are as follows;

1. A single year agreement
2. An across the board 15% salary increase or R3155, whichever is greater.
3. R2000 housing allowance for all employees
4. R10 000 minimum wage for all municipal workers
5. All benefits and conditions of service linked to salaries to increase by the same percentage as the across the board salary increase.

SALGA has presented its salary and wage proposal which is as follows;

1. A 5 year collective agreement
2. 4.6% in the first year of the collective agreement and CPI plus 0.25% for the remainder of the collective agreement.
3. Housing allowance to increase inline with the 5 year collective agreement.
4. Minimum wage to also increase inline with the 5 year collective agreement.
5. SALGA further proposes that all benefits linked with salaries to increase inline with the proposed collective agreement.

This is the first time in the history of our salary and wage negotiations wherein the employer body proposes a 5 year collective agreement. We are in no position to entertain a 5 year collective agreement which does not have any substantive increments for our members and municipal workers in general. We can only entertain such a proposal only if our members are offered 15% or R3155 annually for the duration of such an agreement.

We are therefore convinced that SALGA has not opened this round of negotiations in good faith, we have therefore rejected this proposal as it is laughable and insulting to municipal workers. The fact that SALGA seemingly wants to blame workers for the difficulties which municipalities are currently in is very disappointing.

The fact that SALGA does not want to budge on our demand for a R10 000 minimum wage arguing that “our local government minimum wage is double what the national government and NEDLAC have approved” is indicative that SALGA just does not care about municipal workers and that it does not take them serious.

We urge SALGA to urgently meet with its members to ensure that they get their house in order. Municipal workers cant be blamed for the fruitless, irregular and wasteful expenditures which are continually incurred by municipalities. This is money which would go a long way in ensuring the survival and stability of municipalities while also ensuring that there is surplus resources which can be redirected to remunerating municipal workers.

We are also disappointed that SALGA seemingly endorses the unfair treatment which municipalities are receiving from National Treasury. Municipalities are neither junior partners or step-children of government. They are in fact tasked with a huge responsibility of ensuring the delivery of basic services to all South Africans. Municipalities and municipal workers therefore need to be prioritized beginning with the better remuneration of municipal workers who are by the way the least paid government employees.

We are of the view that our demand for a R2 000 housing allowance is justifiable given the fact that our members are told by banking institutions that they earn too low to qualify for housing finance while the very same government which they labour very hard for tells them that they do not qualify for RDP housing thus leaving them in limbo.

The very same people who are in the coalface of service delivery are overlooked while councillors across the country are receiving housing allowances of over R6500 monthly irrespective of them being a home owner of not. When it comes to municipal workers, they are told that they only deserve R749 monthly of which homeownership is a prerequisite. It is for this reason that we will stick to our demand of an across the board R2 000 housing allowance for municipal workers.

Going into the second round of negotiations which will be held in January 2018, we trust that SALGA will go back to the drawing board and come back with a serious offer which can be presented to our members. SAMWU would ideally want these negotiations concluded speedily, before the current agreement lapses in June 2018. We will however not rush into signing an agreement which does not have any substantive increments for our members.

Issued by SAMWU Secretariat
Simon Mathe, General Secretary (079 887 8389), Moses Miya, Deputy General Secretary (082 899 2169), Papikie Mohale, National Media Officer (073 710 0356)