Samwu content with municipal wage deal, says it protects worker interests
The SA Municipal Workers’ Union says the recently concluded salary agreement for workers across the country’s 257 municipalities has secured an increment related to inflation in year two and three of the agreement.
The union said this compared with the original below-inflation increase offered by the employer.
The union said the three-year agreement protected the benefits of all employees in the sector while there was a threat to freeze all benefits.
Samwu also said the agreement on Wednesday - between the employer body the SA Local Government Association (Salga) and Samwu, and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) - secured the allowance for employees who cannot afford a bond and do not qualify for RDP housing.
The negotiations began in March. Samwu had demanded a 7% increase, while Imatu had demanded 9%.
Salga said the salary and wage agreement covers three financial years from 2021/22 to 2023/24.
It said employees will receive an increase of 3.5%, with effect from July 1, 2021, and a one-off, non-pensionable cash allowance of R4,000 for those earning less than R12,500 and R3,000 for those earning more than R12,501.
Though inflation is projected at 4.8% for 2021, Samwu said the one-off payments of R3,000 and R4,000 would mean employees would receive an increase this financial year in line with inflation.
Salga said while the salary increase of 3.5% was effective from July 1, 2021, the cash allowance becomes operational at a later stage.
“To mitigate the impact of paying these cash allowances, the agreement envisages an extended time frame within which municipalities can make adjustments to their current budget to fulfil this obligation unless they have applied for exemptions.”
Salga said inflation-linked increases in the outer years of this agreement will be based on the inflation outlook and projections made by the Reserve Bank.
Samwu said parties agreed to negotiate the employer contribution towards medical aid in the process of reviewing the main collective agreement.
The parties agreed on a process of investigating the employability of Expanded Public Works Programme and Community Work Programme employees who are based in municipalities.
The union said this investigation will be finalised within 12 months.
“As most municipalities have already concluded their payroll runs for the months, we expect all municipal workers to receive their salary increases with their October 2021 salaries, backdated to July 1,” Samwu's deputy general secretary Dumisane Magagula said.