The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) seeks an across the board increase of 15% for local government employees. IMATU has tabled its wage increase proposal and will begin its first round of negotiations with the South African Local Government Association on Monday, 21 May 2012. 

IMATU’s opening wage negotiation position proposes;

  1. An across the board increase of 15% or R2 000-00,whichever is the greater, for all employees falling under the registered scope of the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC);
  2. A minimum wage in the Local Government Sector of R6 000.00 per month
  3. The filling of all vacant posts on all Municipal Council approved organograms on a permanent and full time basis.
  4. A single year salary and wage collective agreement for the 2012/2013 financial year.

“IMATU’s approach to these wage negotiations is to achieve an inflation related increase for our members. The proposal of a 15% increase will often be met with immediate resistance, yet the public is not aware that many local government workers are only taking home R4603.02 every month in which case a 15% wage increase will still only equate to just over R5000.00 per month. Our members, like the majority of South Africans, are really feeling the pinch of unprecedented increases in the costs of electricity, fuel, food and public transport and IMATU needs to ensure that our members’ salaries keep pace with the rising costs of living,” explained IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.

IMATU welcomes the Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Richard Baloyi’s commitment to regulate the salaries of municipal managers and implement a national recruitment and selection policy by the end of this financial year.

“Vacancies and skills shortages within local government add to poor records of service delivery. In addition IMATU notes with concern the growing wage gap between Section 57 and other municipal employees. While it is difficult to get accurate salary figures, IMATU was shocked to discover that 147 municipal managers, of municipalities that had failed their recent financial audits, each received annual salaries of R1 million. This cannot go unaddressed,” stated IMATU Deputy General Secretary, Craig Adams.

IMATU is pleased that Statistics South Africa is scheduled to review the weightings allocated to items in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket, however more accurate allocations of where your money is being spent does not put more money in your pocket. The consumer has no choice but to pay administered prices, such as water and electricity, which have been sharply increasing above the general inflation rate for years. 

The cost of a basic food basket has increased on average by 16% per year for the last five years, the price of electricity has effectively increased by 82.3% in the last three years, petrol prices have increased on average by 11% per year for the last decade and Metrorail’s ticket prices have effectively increased by 69% in the last three years.

“While some experts claim that only a small percentage of the population actually own personal vehicles and multiple appliances, our members have directly experienced the impact of significant increases in public and private transport costs, the cost of education, medical aid costs, basic goods and services,” said Adams. 

The National Agricultural Marketing Council’s quarterly food price monitor has determined that the poorest 30% of SA’s population currently spend almost 39% of their income just on food, that is a 5% increase from last year, further reinforcing  that the inflation rate for food has consistently outstripped headline inflation since March last year. South Africa experiences the third highest food inflation prices in the world, over shadowed only by China and Turkey.

“IMATU has a mandate to ensure that our members’ income is not eroded by the continually increasing costs of living and SALGA must place the realistic percentage increases of year on year inflation next to our proposed salary increases when delivering its opening offer on Monday,” concluded Koen.