IMATU CONGRATULATES NEWLY ELECTED PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) would like to extend its congratulations to the newly elected President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We welcome the former Deputy President’s election to the position of President in the National Assembly yesterday. President Ramaphosa brings with him a wealth of knowledge, experience and determination, which will hopefully be translated into effective and sustainable service delivery for the people of South Africa,” commented IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.

IMATU is encouraged by the President’s commitment to put South Africa first and deal decisively with the serious challenges of corruption, state capture, failing state owned enterprises and youth unemployment.

IMATU is looking forward to hearing the President systematically outline the steps his cabinet will be taking to correct rampant corruption, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, sluggish economic growth, unemployment and resource shortages in his inaugural State of the Nation Address (SONA) tonight. “We are hopeful that the President will take the country into his confidence and deliver a roadmap that all social partners can buy into and support. Going forward, we need to ensure that South Africa is a place of equal access and opportunity for all who live in it,” he said.

“IMATU remains committed to working towards achieving an efficient and sustainable service delivery model at local government level however, the commitment of our members on the ground must be matched by decisive implementation and political will at the top. We look forward to working together with President Cyril Ramaphosa and his team to achieve the goals set out in the National Development Plan and more specifically assist in promoting service delivery across all municipalities and local government entities,” concluded Koen.

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WAGE NEGOTIATIONS 2018/2019 (FEEDBACK REPORT NO 2)

salaryThe second round of wage negotiations for the 2018/2019 financial year took place on 31 January – 2 February 2018, in Durban, under the auspices of the facilitator, Mr Moe Ally.
Hereinafter follows the feedback report.

The facilitator indicated that he prepared a document which outlines all the bargaining items and the positions of the parties on each item. The parties spent most of this round setting out the factors to be considered in order to reach an equitable settlement on each item.

The facilitator also separated the parties and shuttled back and forth to enter into debate with the parties in caucus format.
Each bargaining item was dealt with as follows:

Across the Board Salary Increase
The parties’ positions on this item, at the start of negotiations, were as follows:
IMATU 15%
SALGA 4.6%

IMATU led the way in establishing a basis for determining the salary increase and stated that while CPI is a good starting point to determine the across the board salary increase, it cannot be the only factor. The direct impact of inflation on important items in the basket of household spending must also be taken into account. Historical agreements have provided a minimum baseline for salary increases. Moreover, recent increases granted to councillors, settlement figures of other sectors and local government increases versus the national average are all factors which should be taken into consideration to determine the salary increase.

IMATU further proposed a review of the traditional lagged CPI approach to determine the salary increase, i.e. the average CPI of the previous financial year. Instead, parties should consider using the projected CPI, as determined annually by national treasury. It is far more accurate and realistic and reduces the risk of a low CPI being carried over into a high CPI year.
SALGA responded that the trade unions should carefully weigh the risks in such an approach as it may not always be advantageous. SALGA further maintained that all notch increases should, in future, no longer be automatic but linked to performance.

IMATU indicated that, while it does not oppose measures to improve employee performance in the sector, linking notch increases to performance will essentially impact on contractual rights which will be negatively affected if dealt with as an interest issue. Furthermore, COGTA is already developing performance regulations which have their own performance rewards systems. There are also many perceived problems with performance management systems in the sector, including its subjective nature. The sector would be better served if parties focus on improvement in service delivery as a whole and an investigation should be conducted into this matter.

SALGA was of the view that the salary increase cannot be determined in isolation. There are many other concurrent processes under-way in the SALGBC, such as the housing investigation, low cost medical aid investigation and pension fund restructuring, which may also have significant cost implications for municipalities. All these financial risks must be taken into consideration in determining the salary increase.

Housing Allowance
The parties’ positions on this item, at the start of negotiations, were as follows:
IMATU ▪ Increased to R 2000.00 p/m ▪ Extended to all employees
SALGA ▪ Increased by same percentage as salary increase ▪ Opposed to Rental Allowance ▪ Housing investigation expedited

The facilitator was of the view that the parties agree, in principle, that home ownership must be promoted in the sector and that the allowance must increase. It is the quantum of the increase that is in dispute.

IMATU remained adamant that the base of the current housing allowance must first be increased, after which an annual increase, by the same percentage as the salary increase, can be considered. SALGA’s proposal is not realistic as the allowance is simply too far behind other sectors, including the public sector. IMATU proposed that the average increases, in rand value, recently granted to councillors in terms of the government gazette be used as a reference point to determine the increase to the base. Moreover, the distinction between home owners and renters is discriminatory and must be eliminated in the sector. For this reason, it is proposed that the housing allowance be extended to all employees in the sector.

Maximum Medical Aid Subsidy
The parties’ positions on this item, at the start of negotiations, were as follows:
IMATU ▪ Maximum Subsidy Maximum subsidy to increase annually by same percentage as salary increase ▪ 60/40 contribution rate be retained.
SALGA ▪ No increase to maximum subsidy.

IMATU proposed that this item be removed from the agenda and that the provisions of the Main Collective Agreement, which provide for annual increases to the maximum medical aid subsidy, prevail.

SALGA indicated that it is prepared to consider annual increases to the medical aid maximum subsidy by the same percentage as the salary and wage increase. However, this may result in some cost shifting when the salary increase is ultimately determined.

Retirement Funds
The parties’ positions on this item, at the start of negotiations, were as follows:
IMATU
SALGA ▪ Maximum employer contribution rate to DC Funds at 18% ▪ Contribution rates higher than 18% be ring-fenced ▪ No further entrants into DB Funds ▪ Restructuring process in SALGBC to be completed.

The facilitator was of the view that this item can be readily dispensed with as all parties are, in principle, in agreement on these issues, with some minor changes that can be deferred to a later stage.

Duration of Agreement
The parties’ positions on this item, at the start of negotiations, were as follows:
IMATU ▪ Term of agreement 1-year agreement.
SALGA ▪ 5-year agreement ▪ Formula for salary increase in years 2-5 of the agreement be based on average CPI plus 0.25%

IMATU indicated that it has always been SALGA’s responsibility to make a multi-year agreement offer that is attractive enough to consider. Effectively, SALGA must “sell” a multi-year proposal to the trade unions. This should include sufficient protections against major unexpected shifts in inflation, measures to ensure that the increases remain in line with the national average and traditional protection clauses with a threshold of 5% (floor) and 10% (ceiling). That being said, IMATU was of the view that it is highly unlikely that the trade unions would obtain a mandate to accept a 5-year agreement. SALGA should rather bring their proposal in line with historical trends in the sector.

Conclusion
As is evident from this feedback report, the parties not yet made any moves from their original proposals, but the facilitator has been provided with all relevant considerations from which an equitable settlement can be concluded. Negotiations are ongoing and the next round of wage negotiations is scheduled for 5, 6 and 7 March 2018, in Durban. It is expected that parties will make adjustments to their bargaining positions at the next round.

Members will be continually updated as the matter progresses.

IMATU EXTENDS CONDOLENCES TO THE COLLEAGUES AND FAMILIES OF FALLEN JMPD OFFICERS

IMATU is deeply saddened by the news of the deaths of two JMPD officers earlier this week. It is understood that the two officers were killed when a drunk driver drove straight through a road block on Monday evening. Additional JMPD Officers and motorists were also injured during the incident and received medical attention.

Not only could this tragedy have been prevented, but both of these female officers lost their lives in the line of duty trying to apprehend and prevent drunk driving.

IMATU would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the families and colleagues of the fallen officers as well as those involved in this horrific incident.

The municipal employee often has to perform the thankless tasks that keep local government working. It is during times like these that we remember the danger that our police and emergency personnel place them themselves under on a daily basis and thank you for your service. IMATU will follow this case closely and insure that justice prevails.

IMATU FACILITATES DURBAN ICC RECOGNITION AGREEMENT

Our President: Mr Stanley Khoza and DURBAN ICC Chief Executive Officer: Ms Lindiwe Rakharebe signing the recognition agreement between IMATU and the DURBAN ICC this afternoon. Another example of IMATU striving to protect all workers in the local government sector.

imatu bursary scheme

2018 IMATU/LA HEALTH/DISCOVERY BURSARY SCHEME

imatu bursary schemeIt is with great pleasure that we are able to announce the continuation of the IMATU/LA Health/Discovery Bursary Scheme for the 2018 academic year.

As you are aware, IMATU, in association with LA Health and Discovery Health, has established the IMATU/LA Health/Discovery Bursary Scheme as part of our on-going commitment to the well-being of our members and their families.

The aim of the Bursary Scheme is to provide financial assistance to IMATU members, and the children of IMATU members, in order to facilitate the pursuance and obtaining of a tertiary qualification.

Due to the escalating cost of tertiary education, the sponsors of this scheme have taken a collective decision to reduce the number of bursaries awarded, in favour of increasing the Rand value allocated per bursary.

Bursary amounts will be granted as follows:

(a) 10 bursaries at R 20 000 each.
(b) 40 bursaries at R 10 000 each.

A maximum of 50 bursaries will therefore be granted annually.

Bursary Scheme applications will be accepted from 2 January 2018. Download and complete the forms attached to this post or on our website http://www.imatu.co.za/resource-centre/#tab-id-5

All completed applications must be submitted to Ms Trix van Heerden via fax: (012) 460 8444 or email: trix@imatu.co.za.

Applications will close on 16 February 2018 at 16h00.

CONGRATULATIONS MALERATO SEABO

A big congratulations to our very own Malerato Seabo from the Free State Regional Office, who was awarded Best Female Runner at the Mangaung Athletics Club Awards in December 2017. Well done!

IMATU SUPPORTS DROUGHT RELIEF EFFORTS IN BEAUFORT WEST

The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) will today be handing over a donation to the value of R 70 000, towards drought relief efforts in Beaufort West and surrounding areas in the Western Cape.

 

Last month the dam providing water to the Beaufort West Municipality dried up and a crisis intervention plan had to be established. As a union representing local government employees throughout South Africa, each Regional Office supports its own local charity project. The scale and impact of water shortages in Beaufort West and surrounding areas necessitated a coordinated effort by the organisation as a whole.

 

“We feel very strongly about making a positive difference in the lives of others and when our shop stewards brought this urgent need to our attention, IMATU knew that it needed to get involved. As Gift of the Givers had already started intervention efforts, we chose to use this organization as the vehicle for our donation to the Beaufort West Municipality and surrounding areas. IMATU’s contribution will be used towards the sinking of boreholes and the provision of bottled water;” explained IMATU Western Cape Regional Chairperson, Francios Willemse.

 

A specialist hydrologist has assessed the area to establish the possibility of accessing underground aquifers, drill boreholes and investigate the possibility of pumping water into the dam. Drilling in Beaufort West started on 1 November 2017 and the project has seen a yield of 220 000 litres per day.

 

The procedure of assessment and drilling in various areas will continue in a bid to provide sustainable water sources to the affected communities. The project is expected to cost in excess of R6 million and IMATU is pleased to be able to contribute towards these efforts.

 

IMATU is a proud supporter this project and believes that the efforts being made will yield sustainable long term solutions to citizens and our members in the draught affected areas,” concluded Willemse.

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FEEDBACK REPORT ON WAGE NEGOTIATIONS, WAGE CURVE NEGOTIATIONS AND RETIREMENT FUND RESTRUCTURING NEGOTIATIONS

salaryA 4 day session of negotiations were scheduled for 4-7 December 2017 in Durban. These negotiations dealt with the following matters:

• Wage Negotiations:
• Wage Curve Negotiations; and
• Retirement Fund Restructuring Negotiations.

Hereinafter follows the feedback report.

Wage Negotiations (2017-2018)

The first round of the wage negotiations for the 2017/2018 financial year took place on 4-5 December 2017. Parties were locked in two days of discussions under the auspices of the SALGBC appointed facilitator, Mr Moe Ally.

Much of the first round was spent on parties motivating the basis for their wage demands and deciding on the best approach for the way forward.

IMATU submitted a formal wage position document for the purpose of motivating our demands. IMATU stated that, having conducted thorough research, we are in a position to make a “business case” for our demands, i.e. not merely based on ideology but on “cold facts and figures”.

IMATU highlighted the recent increases in the cost living, the turbulent economic climate and the impact thereof on the disposable income of our members. A detailed comparison was made with wage increase in other sectors for the past year and what the norm has been for the last three years. The financial impact of increases in the cost of housing and medical aid was explained in detail. An extensive analysis of the affordability of our wage demands was made with reference to consolidated financial statements of municipalities and the impact of our wage demands on the municipal wage bill as a percentage of total expenditure. Finally, a commitment was made to improvement in productivity and service delivery in the sector.

In response thereto, SALGA highlighted the dire state of the economy and the difficult financial situation that many municipalities find themselves in. SALGA also reminded parties that the wage curve implementation and pension fund restructuring will have additional budgetary implications for municipalities. SALGA requested that the parties refrain from taking a positional or confrontational approach but rather commit to an interest based or problem solving approach. As a result a smaller sub-committee was formed to exchange ideas and agree on principles for settlement. This committee will look at all the demands of each party, together with the facilitator, and will make proposals for progress and settlement on each item.

On this basis, discussions were brought to a close.

The next round of wage negotiations is scheduled for 31 January to 1 February 2018.

A schedule of the trade unions’ wage demands and SALGA’s responses, as they currently stand, is set out in Annexure “A” hereto.

Wage Curve Negotiations

The first round of wage curve negotiations took place on 6 December 2017 under the auspices of the SALGBC appointed facilitator, Mr Moe Ally.

IMATU opened the negotiations by giving a brief history of the matter to the facilitator. We emphasised that these negotiations essentially represent the third and final phase of the wage curve development and that the negotiations will largely focus on the implementation principles of the new wage curve.

In order to ensure that progress is made, the trade unions prepared and submitted a joint proposal document for discussion. The parties agreed that the trade unions’ document will form the basis for the negotiations and it shall be converted into a working document at a later stage.

IMATU stated that the first round should be seen as exploratory talks and once the areas of disagreement are identified, the trade unions will revise and make amendments to the proposal document. It however quickly became clear that the parties are actually in agreement on a number of issues and relatively few areas of disagreement were identified.

Going forward, the parties agreed that the appointed consultants should update the salary scales to reflect the latest market position, assist in ensuring that the grading process is properly described in the working document and provide further updated information on the budgetary implications for municipalities. It was further agreed that a smaller sub-committee will meet prior to the next round of wage curve negotiations to ensure that these issues are finalised.

On this basis, discussions were brought to a close.

The next round of wage curve negotiations is scheduled for 2 February 2018.

Retirement Fund Restructuring Negotiations

The third round of retirement fund restructuring negotiations took place on 7 December 2017 under the auspices of the SALGBC appointed facilitator, Mr Chris Todd.

IMATU stated that it submitted the facilitator’s proposal to its internal structures for consultation, and a number of areas of concern were raised. IMATU highlighted these areas of concern in detail and submitted a number of settlement proposals. The facilitator took note of the issues and proposals raised by IMATU and undertook to revise and amend the facilitator’s proposal prior the next round of negotiations.

On this basis, discussions were brought to a close.

Conclusion

As is evident from this feedback report, the parties have set the tone for the negotiations and that there is a sense of optimism that progress can be made at the next rounds.

The parties are, however, still a long way from finding common ground and significant hurdles still exist. Negotiations are ongoing and will continue under the facilitated framework as long as talks are productive.

Regions will be updated as these negotiations progress.

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IMATU HEADS INTO THE FIRST ROUND OF WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

salaryThe Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) has started the first round of wage negotiations in Durban today.

IMATU’s opening demands are an across the board salary increase of 15% or R3 155, whichever is the greater, a minimum wage increase of R10 000 per month and a housing allowance of R2 000 per month.

The South African Local Government Association’s (SALGA) opening proposal suggests a five year agreement including a 4.6% salary increase in the first year, followed by an increase of 0.25% for the remaining years. Currently SALGA is offering no increase to the minimum wage and suggesting that the sector’s housing allowance increase be adjusted by the same percentage as their suggested salary increase.

“We believe that our demands are a good starting point from which to open the negotiations. We have taken account of the rising cost of living, economic conditions of the country and the impact thereof on the disposable income of our members. We have also analysed the financial position of municipalities and we believe that we can provide clear motivations and make a business case for our demands,” explained General Secretary, Johan Koen.

At present, workers are battling high prices and high debt levels. The cost of basic necessities is constantly increasing and disposable income is decreasing. IMATU is responsible for securing wage increases that afford our members the basics for quality of life, adequate safe shelter, food, utilities, transport, health care, some recreation, education for themselves and their children, childcare and saving for retirement, as well as a wage which allows them to be free of onerous debt.

IMATU has taken a firm decision to ditch positional bargaining in favour of a more interest based approach, which is less adversarial and more focused on finding solutions. This has resulted in a more productive relationship between the negotiating parties and we want to keep it that way.

“Negotiations are expected to be difficult and will in all likelihood require a great deal of skill, resilience and resolve. We however, have every confidence that our negotiators will be able to rise to the challenge and arrive at a beneficial settlement in the interest of our members and the sector as a whole,” stated Koen.

IMATU COMMEMORATES WORLD AIDS DAY

World Aids Day

World AIDS Day takes place on the 1st December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.

IMATU supports the World Health Organisation’s campaign entitled “Everybody counts”. All South Africans must have access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines.