Municipal wage negotiations have come to an end after workers agreed to a three-year deal.
In a statement, the South African Local Government Association (Salga) said the negotiations were difficult, with a conciliator being roped in to resolve the wage talks.
“Reaching the deal was no easy feat as negotiators in the bargaining council deadlocked several times leading to a conciliator to be brought in after a facilitator’s proposal in August 2021 also failed to conclude the negotiations,” Salga said.
The agreement was reached on Wednesday between Salga and unions – the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal & Allied Trade Union (Imatu).
All parties agreed to a salary increase of 3.5% with effect from 1 July 2021, which includes a one-off non-pensionable cash allowance of R4,000 for employees earning a basic salary less than R12,500.
In addition, employees who earn more than R12,501 will receive a R3,000 one-off non-pensionable cash allowance.
The package will cover three financial years from 2021 to 2024.
“The collective agreement, in respect of this current financial year, stipulates that all municipal employees shall receive an increase of 3.5% with effect from 1 July 2021, a period in which the remuneration of municipal employees is adjusted every year, and a once-off non-pensionable cash allowance,” the association said.
Salga said while the 3.5% salary increase was effective from 1 July, the cash allowance would become effective “at a later stage”.
The association said the new agreement represented a compromise for the parties, and it gave municipalities in financial distress breathing room until 2023.
It added that municipalities could revisit the terms of the agreement should they experience any difficulties.
“The new collective agreement represents a win-win outcome for the negotiating parties. The agreement also imposes a zero increase in some benefits, such as homeowner’s allowance and medical aid. The work on the pension restructuring will commence, which will see several reforms in the body form,” Salga said.
Salga represents 257 municipalities across the country.
Municipal workers were among government employees who received a 6.25% salary increase last year, with the economy battered by the Covid-19 pandemic and some municipalities unable to afford their current wage bill.
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