18 June 2020
A special meeting of the SALGBC Central Council – Executive Committee was held yesterday. At this meeting, officials from National Treasury made a presentation to the SALGBC parties on the economic downturn on municipal finances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
National Treasury stated that municipal finances have been hard hit by a reduction in revenue collection and it wanted the SALGBC parties to agree to give up wage increases for 2020/2021 and exempt all municipalities from paying the 6.25% wage increase.
IMATU, however, immediately launched into a detailed questioning of National Treasury’s figures and we proved conclusively that National Treasury’s presentation is based on exaggerations, baseless assumptions, claims not supported by facts and selective quoting from documents in order to build a case. The Treasury officials seemed to be caught off guard by IMATU’s sophisticated knowledge of municipal finances and they were completely flustered, unprepared and unable to answer IMATU’s questions. Ultimately giving confusing, senseless and disingenuous answers as an attempt to hide their embarrassment.
Most importantly, IMATU questioned whether municipal councillors are also being asked to forego their wage increases. The Treasury officials again had no answer, claiming that they have no control over councillor increases. Effectively, therefore, municipal employees are being asked to give up their increases but not municipal councillors.
After the National Treasury presentation was concluded, the SALGBC parties made the following decision:
Effectively, for now, this means that the salary and wage increase of 6.25%, effective from 1 July 2020, will proceed as stated in the SALGBC Circular.
However, in the event that National Treasury or SALGA make attempts to block the wage increase, IMATU will oppose such attempts by all means necessary. The wage increase is contained in a binding collective agreement and municipalities are compelled by law to adhere thereto.
Please note, however, that a very small number of individual municipalities have submitted exemption applications to the SALGBC to be exempted from paying the wage increase. IMATU is actively opposing such applications.
The National Office is preparing a more detailed circular on the National Treasury presentation and IMATU’s challenges thereto and will circulate the same in due course.
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IMATU is the most progressive trade union representing our members in the local government sector. IMATU is a registered trade union striving for social transformation through sustainable local government. See www.imatu.co.za for more information