South African Municipal Workers Union members. Picture: THE HERALD/MIKE HOLMES
South African Municipal Workers Union members. Picture: THE HERALD/MIKE HOLMES

The DA’s plan to withdraw its membership from the South African Local Government Association (Salga) is a deliberate attempt to collapse collective bargaining in the municipal sector, the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) said on Monday.

The party, which controls the Tshwane metro, Midvaal, Mogale municipalities and the Johannesburg metro, is thinking about quitting the association in Gauteng. The party said it was unhappy with its voice in the ANC-dominated association. This is despite municipalities under its control contributing more than 50% of Salga’s provincial funds and resources.

Samwu spokesman Papikie Mohale said the move would create instability. He said the DA-led municipalities would not be able to be part of the bargaining council, meaning that their employees would not have anyone to negotiate for them.

"So automatically they will be taking workers out of the bargaining council which would have dire consequences to workers because we only have one bargaining council for all the workers," he said.

DA acting spokesman in Tshwane Matthew Gerstner said although having Salga negotiate on behalf of employees was convenient, each municipality had its own mandate for the collective bargaining process.

He said the DA and other members of Salga had agreed, at the association’ s elective conference last week, to vote in a way that gave the metros better representation because they were under-represented.

The DA walked out of the Salga provincial elective conference after its delegates were outvoted by the ANC a week ago. Former Joburg mayor Parks Tau was elected the provincial chairman.

South African Local Government Bargaining Council general secretary Bill Govender was not available to comment.

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