After a dispute was declared last month, wage negotiations are proceeding as a formal dispute resolution process. Members of the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC) are attending the conciliation meeting, facilitated by Dr Attie van der Merwe, with the hope that a resolution can still be achieved.
“Substantive ground will need to be covered by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) in order for a settlement agreement to be reached. If parties are unable to reach an agreement during this meeting, a certificate of non-resolution will be declared and our members will have to decide whether to go on strike or refer the matter to a binding arbitration,” explained IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.
A major issue of contention remains the sector’s outdated and dismally low home owner’s allowance. The current home owner’s allowance payable to local government employees is R 522.00 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. Our members are really feeling the pinch of unprecedented increases in the costs of electricity, fuel, food and public transport. While we will continue to work towards a wage settlement, IMATU has a mandate to ensure that the value of wages keeps pace with the rising costs of living. Wage increases must reflect the impact of real inflation on our members,” concluded Koen.