“At this late stage in the negotiation process, we were hoping to see real commitment and compromise from all parties. This third round of wage negotiations has been slow to progress due to the number of factors that must be considered and the complexity of the demands. A major sticking point at present is the issue of the home owner’s allowance. Due to the long standing nature of this problem, a number of complexities will need to be addressed. Parties still need to agree on an appropriate model, the extension of the housing allowance to all local government employees and the movement away from a complex formula to a flat rate system,” explained IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.
The current home owner’s allowance available to local government employees is R 522 per month and this allowance is only available to employees who own houses. For many people, the high cost of owning a home and more stringent lending conditions makes housing ownership simply out of reach.
The local government home owner’s allowance, introduced in the early 80’s, has had very few adjustments and has fallen far behind other sectors. It is therefore imperative to bring this allowance in line with the current costs of living.
IMATU wishes to promote home ownership, hence its demand for a housing allowance of R 1 100, which must be extended to all employees who are renting, owning houses or paying loans towards a housing bond.
“While we will continue to work towards a wage settlement, IMATU has a mandate to ensure that the value of wages and salaries keeps pace with the rising costs of living. Wage increases must reflect the impact of real inflation on our members,” concluded Koen.