salary

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.