Johannesburg - Wage talks between municipal worker unions
and the SA Local Government Association (Salga) will continue in Durban on
This was so they could consider the facilitator's proposal
for a multi-year salary and wage agreement, Salga CEO Xolile George said in a statement.
"Our organisation has accepted the facilitator's
proposal in good faith, based on a mandate provided to it by municipalities,
and taking cognisance of the financial constraints they face, as well as the
impact on municipal rates which are already under pressure," said George.
"To Salga, acceptance of the facilitator's proposal
would bring an immediate conclusion to salary and wage negotiations, ensure the
continued sustainability of municipalities, and create an environment of labour
peace and stability."
The facilitator had proposed a 6.5% increase for 2012/2013,
with a consumer price index (CPI) average plus 0.78% for 2013/2014 and a CPI
average plus 1% in 2014/2015.
SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) spokesperson Tahir Sema
said the union's national executive committee met in Durban on Tuesday and
decided to reject the proposed 6.5% increase.
"They revised their mandate and will engage with the
employer today (Wednesday) at the negotiations. We are rejecting the mediator's
proposal but we won't be revealing our mandate yet."
He said doing so could jeopardise Samwu's strategy going
into the negotiations. The talks started in May.
George said it was regrettable that the unions had rejected
the facilitator's proposal.
"Salga is also perturbed by the lack of appreciation on
the part of unions regarding the adverse economic situation facing
municipalities in South Africa and the world at large."
Over 100 municipalities were currently in financial crisis.
"It is also clear that the unions are pushing for
strike action that is clearly unnecessary given the prevailing
circumstances," said George.
Sema said the wage dispute was not only about the annual
wage increase, but there were other demands that were important. This was the
third round of talks.
"We would like to see the negotiations come to an end