2.8% salary increase on table for municipalities' staff

Appeal for realism as local government sector hit by financial constraints

13 April 2021 - 09:05 By TimesLIVE
Call for realism in current wave of salary increases for municipal staff
Call for realism in current wave of salary increases for municipal staff
Image: 123RF/Rabia Elif Aksoy

The SA Local Government Association has proposed a 2.8% salary increase this year, due to the current financially-strained environment.

The increase has been tabled for discussion at the SA Local Government Bargaining Council.

“Key to the elements of Salga’s proposal is an across-the-board salary increase of 2.8% for year 1 (2021/ 2022 financial year), which is 1.5% below the projected CPI and a total freeze of increases on all benefits that are linked to salary increases,” the association said in a statement.

“Considering that the municipalities sector has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, these negotiations represent a critical point in efforts to save municipalities from complete financial collapse.”

Salga is also proposing a three-year salary and wage collective agreement in order to continue to maintain stability in the local government sector, as well as support the sector’s sustainability requirements and objectives.

Labour, represented by two trade unions — the SA Municipal Workers Union and Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union — have also formally exchanged their demands, said Salga, without elaborating.

“Given the devastation on the economy by the Covid-19 pandemic, macroeconomic and the global economic outlook, the 2021 salary and wage negotiations take place against a financially-strained environment and the economic damage is evident and represents the largest economic shock the world has experienced in decades.

“Salga is cognisant of the deep recessions triggered by this pandemic, which is expected to leave lasting scars through lower investment, an erosion of human capital through lost work and schooling, and fragmentation of global trade and supply linkages.

“Some municipalities are already unable to afford the current wage costs and would indeed have to apply for no more than a zero percent increase in the 2021/22 MTREF.”

At end-December, 160 municipalities experienced a form of financial distress resulting in a serious material breach of financial commitments, said Salga.

“Of these municipalities, 111 were experiencing severe financial distress resulting in persistent material breach of financial commitments.

“Salga is urging all parties to meaningfully reflect on the proposal it has presented in the interest of service delivery and financially stability of municipalities.”

The current salary and wage collective agreement expires on June 30.

TimesLIVE


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