Hereinafter follows the feedback report.
The facilitator opened the negotiations confirming that both IMATU and SALGA communicated their acceptance of the facilitator’s proposal at the previous round of negotiations, while SAMWU was given further time to complete their mandating process. The facilitator therefore requested that SAMWU indicate what their position is on the facilitator’s proposal.
SAMWU responded that its mandate is to reject the facilitator’s proposal and submit revised wage demands of an 8% salary increase on a 3-year wage agreement, alternatively a 7% salary increase on a single year agreement.
Having heard the revised wage demands, SALGA requested some time to consider their position. The facilitator then broke the parties into separate caucuses in order to engage separately with each party.
Upon resumption of the meeting, SALGA stated that it has reached the limits of its mandate in this process. Taking the financial state of municipalities into account, SALGA is in no position to accommodate a salary increase that is higher than what was proposed in the facilitator’s proposal. SALGA cannot therefore accede to SAMWU’s revised wage demands, and its position remains to accept the facilitator’s proposal.
IMATU stated, for the record, that it obtained a mandate for the facilitator’s proposal under difficult circumstances and that any attempt to restructure the proposal by, for example, reducing increases on the housing allowance or medical aid subsidy, to fund a revised salary increase, will compel IMATU to also withdraw its acceptance of the facilitator’s proposal.
SALGA subsequently gave notice that, due to SAMWU’s rejection of the facilitator’s proposal, it is also withdrawing its acceptance of the facilitator’s proposal and reverting to its last offer prior to the facilitator’s proposal. Effectively therefore, SALGA’s offer is a salary increase of 6.6% and a 3-year wage agreement.
In response, SAMWU indicated that it reverts to its opening wage demand of 15%. SALGA sought to explain that it did not revert to its opening demand, but to its last offer prior to the facilitator’s proposal. However, the position of the parties remained unchanged.
IMATU indicated that, due to SALGA’s withdrawal of their acceptance of the facilitator’s proposal, IMATU will declare a dispute and refer the matter to interest arbitration.
On this basis, the facilitator formally recorded that the parties are in deadlock and closed the negotiations.
Wage Curve Negotiations
SALGA further gave notice that, due to SAMWU’s rejection of the facilitator’s proposal, it is also suspending its participation in the wage curve negotiations. SALGA stated that they had made it clear from the beginning that a deal on the wage curve negotiations is dependent on a satisfactory outcome on the wage negotiations.
IMATU indicated that it intended to table a number of new suggestions to conclude the wage curve negotiations, but it will engage the parties at the next meeting of the Executive Committee scheduled for 22 June 2018.
On this basis, wage curve negotiations were formally suspended.
Dispute Process and Way Forward
As is evident from this feedback report, the facilitator’s proposal is no longer on the table as SALGA has reverted to its last offer prior to the proposal. Officially, the only offer on the table is a salary increase of 6.6%. Negotiations have formally deadlocked.
IMATU referred a dispute to the SALGBC for conciliation on 8 June 2018. SALGA and SAMWU have been cited as Respondents in the dispute.
The SALGBC has set down IMATU’s dispute for conciliation on 28 June 2018, and appointed Mr Pat Stone as conciliator.
The parties will next meet on 28 June 2018 where a conciliator will seek to resolve the dispute. IMATU has requested, in the dispute referral, that the facilitator’s proposal be implemented. Should the matter remain unresolved at conciliation, a certificate of non-resolution will be issued. In that case, IMATU will refer the matter for interest arbitration.
Members will be updated as the matter progresses.