The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU), the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) are moving closer to a wage increase settlement by the close of the fourth round of negotiations in eThekwini, today.

SALGA, the employer, has agreed to a 6.5% across the board wage increase, while IMATU is proposing a 7% increase effective from 01 July 2012. Negotiations ended with a Facilitator’s Proposal which the parties are referring back to their relevant structures for approval.

Facilitator, Yunis Shaik, has amended his initial proposal to suggest an initial across the board wage increase of 6.5% effective from 01 July 2012 with an additional 0.5% being added to municipal salaries from 01 January 2013. According to the three year agreement, local government employees will receive Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1.25% in year two (2013/14) and CPI plus 1% in year three (2014/15).

All new employees will become members of defined contribution pension funds with an employer contribution of 18%. Employees who currently have higher contribution rates will retain those personal to holder. The maximum employer contribution to medical aid for the 2012/13 year will be increased by 75% of 6.5% wage increase, 50% of the percentage increase in year two and 25% of the percentage increase in year three. The current maximum employer contribution to medical schemes is R3 280.57. This will mean that the maximum employer contribution this year will be increased to R3 440.51, which represents an increase of R159.94.

While it was very strained at times, this negotiation process is an example of what trade unions and local government can achieve if they work together. As part of the wage negotiation settlement SALGA will revoke its initial notice to terminate the Main Collective Agreement and Disciplinary Code. IMATU has undertaken not to proceed with its interest wage arbitration dispute (2011/12 wage increase), initially scheduled to be heard in the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC) at the end of this month, in an effort to secure an agreement.

“From the beginning of these wage negotiations in May this year, IMATU has always been committed to reaching a swift and amicable agreement. We have to fulfil the mandate of our members while trying to ensure a swift and effective process that is not unnecessarily dragged out. The Facilitator’s proposal will be taken back to our members for discussion, however we are hopeful that an agreement can be reached in the near future,” commented IMATU General Secretary Johan Koen.

IMATU remains committed to the building of a sustainable local government that works better for the citizens of South Africa.