Unions at log­ger­heads over wage dis­pute

The Mercury - - NEWS - Loy­iso Sidimba

THE big­gest trade union in the lo­cal govern­ment sec­tor has dis­missed its ri­val’s bid to force hun­dreds of thou­sands of mu­nic­i­pal work­ers to ac­cept the of­fer to in­crease salaries by 7%.

The SA Mu­nic­i­pal Work­ers’ Union (Samwu), which has 159 000 of the 280 000 lo­cal govern­ment em­ploy­ees as mem­bers, dis­missed the In­de­pen­dent Mu­nic­i­pal and Al­lied Trade Union’s (Imatu) bid to ask a me­di­a­tor to en­force the 7% wage in­crease of­fer pro­posed by fa­cil­i­ta­tor Moe Ally.

Samwu gen­eral sec­re­tary Si­mon Mathe said Imatu did not have the power to do this as it was not the ma­jor­ity union in the sec­tor. Ac­cord­ing to Mathe, the unions and the em­ploy­ers’ rep­re­sen­ta­tive body, the SA Lo­cal Govern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (Salga), will face off at the SA Lo­cal Govern­ment Bar­gain­ing Coun­cil (SALGBC) at the end of the month.

This week, Imatu an­nounced that it had re­ferred a dis­pute to the SALGBC for con­cil­i­a­tion and that Salga and Samwu have been cited as re­spon­dents.

Imatu is un­happy with Salga’s with­drawal of its ac­cep­tance of the fa­cil­i­ta­tor’s 7% salary in­crease of­fer to the SALGBC and Samwu’s re­jec­tion of Ally’s pro­posal.

Imatu is de­mand­ing that the fa­cil­i­ta­tor’s 7% of­fer be im­ple­mented after the union and Salga ac­cepted it.

How­ever, Samwu, as the big­gest rep­re­sen­ta­tive of mu­nic­i­pal work­ers, re­jected the of­fer.

Mathe said Samwu mem­bers want salary in­creases be­tween 8 and 10% un­less there is a fresh man­date.

He warned that should the me­di­a­tion not suc­ceed there could be a strike.

Salga has al­ready told mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that strike man­age­ment guide­lines will ap­ply in the event the salary dis­pute gets es­ca­lated.

“None of the em­ploy­ees who are at­tached to des­ig­nated es­sen­tial ser­vices will be al­lowed to par­tic­i­pate in any in­dus­trial ac­tion,” said Salga chief ex­ec­u­tive Xo­lile Ge­orge, in an up­date on the ne­go­ti­a­tions sent to may­ors and mu­nic­i­pal man­agers last week Fri­day.

Salga in­sists that it re­mains op­ti­mistic that Samwu will re­con­sider its stance and re­turn to the ne­go­ti­at­ing table.

The as­so­ci­a­tion ac­cused the Cosatu af­fil­i­ate of shift­ing goal­posts and warned that this will make work­ers the big­gest losers, con­sid­er­ing the con­strained fi­nan­cial en­vi­ron­ment in which mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are op­er­at­ing.

Salga has pre­vi­ously re­vealed that the 10% wage hike Samwu is de­mand­ing will re­sult in an in­crease in the lo­cal govern­ment wage bill from R87.3 bil­lion to R94.9 bil­lion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.