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Threats of protests abound as wage talks between Salga, Samwu hit dead end

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Samwu says the facilitator’s proposal to the workers was an insult as they were asked to compromise on a number of issues like their benefits and pensions.

Wage talks between the SA Local Government Association, which represents municipalities, and the SA Municipal Workers Union, have hit a dead-end once more with threats of industrial action floating around. File Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg – Wage talks between the SA Local Government Association (Salga), which represents municipalities, and the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), have hit a dead-end once more with threats of industrial action floating around.

This comes after the union rejected a facilitators proposal following consultation with members and the unions national executive meeting.

In a statement on Thursday, the union’s deputy general-secretary, Dumisani Magagula, said the facilitator’s proposal was an insult to workers. He said workers were asked to compromise on a number of issues like their benefits and pensions.

“Her bias proposal was a repetition of what the employer had been arguing through the negotiations,” Magagula said.

The facilitator proposed that parties consider the following: A three-year salary and wage agreement; 4% salary increase in the first year of the agreement and projected consumer price index minus 1% in the outer years of the agreement and a total freeze on all benefits to municipal workers in the first year of the agreement, which will only be fully unfrozen in the last year of the agreement.

Magagula also said there was also a proposal for the sectoral minimum wage to only increase in line with salary increases and deferment of the employability of the Extended Public Works Programme and Community Works Programme, and demands for maternity and paternity leave.

“Following the issuance of the facilitator’s proposal, the union embarked on a membership engagement process and mandate taking on the facilitator’s proposal. This was to allow for our members to engage the proposal and chart a way forward that the worker believed would resolve the current impasse.”

Magagula said Samwu has formally written to the SA Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC), formally informing parties of the union’s decision to reject the facilitator’s proposal.

“Our members have, in their majority, voted against the proposal as it does not address our demands. The union is also in the process of concluding balloting for a potential strike in the sector as required by law,” Magagula said.

Magagula said the results of this process will be made known before parties in the SALGBC reconvene on Thursday next week.

“We urge our members to participate in the process of balloting and to properly mandate the union on a way forward since talks between parties have not yielded any positive results. We further urge our members to gear up and prepare themselves for the upcoming war with the employer in demand of decent salary increments,” Magagula said.

The Star

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