Municipal workers clean up in East London. Picture: DAILY DISPATCH
Municipal workers clean up in East London. Picture: DAILY DISPATCH

Wage negotiations with the South African Local Government Bargaining Council have reached a deadlock after the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) formally declared a dispute on Thursday following its rejection of the facilitator’s proposals.

Samwu had the ball in its court on Thursday to accept the three-year 7% salary and wage increase proposal presented by the bargaining council

The proposal was accepted by the South African Local Government Association (Salga) as well as the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) after it consulted with its members.

The multi-year increase, which would have been applied across the board and would have taken effect on July 1, has now been set aside.

All negotiations have been suspended, including the wage curve negotiations.

Samwu said claims that its demands were unaffordable were far from the truth.

"A glance at the recently released auditor-general’s audit report on municipalities shows that municipalities have become a breeding ground for corruption and maladministration; R28bn of expenditure was incurred irregularly while a further R1.5bn was spent fruitlessly and wastefully," Samwu’s secretariat said on Thursday.

"Municipal workers can therefore not be blamed for the manmade mess which municipalities find themselves in."

Salga said on Thursday it and Imatu were taken aback after Samwu tabled two options during the negotiations on Thursday, in which the union asked for either a multi three-year wage increase of 8% or a single year 7% wage increase. Salga said that given Samwu’s rejection, it had now reverted its position to a 6.6% increase as it was what the municipalities had initially mandated it to present.

Samwu said the proposal, which also included that the housing allowance and minimum wage be increased by 7%, did not have any substantial increment for workers. The union said parties at the council were seemingly determined to impose the facilitator’s report "down the throat of Samwu", but it would not be bullied by Salga.