22 September 2023

The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) has secured an exemption outcome dismissing the Newcastle Municipality’s Exemption Application.

IMATU welcomes the order that was issued today by the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC). In terms of this order, the Newcastle Municipality’s application for exemption was dismissed. This means that the Newcastle Municipality must pay the 5.4% salary increase to its employees with effect from 1 July 2023.

The Newcastle Municipality submitted an application for exemption from the salary and wage agreement concluded between IMATU and SALGA in 2021. The matter was heard on 15 September 2023 by Adv. Timothy Boyce, an arbitrator appointed by the SALGBC.

IMATU opposed the exemption application and raised a point in limine that the exemption application (filed on 7 June 2023) was not authorised by a council resolution.

The arbitrator noted that a council resolution, authorising the exemption application, was subsequently obtained, two months later, on 10 August 2023. However, the subsequent council resolution did not, and could not, ratify the conduct of the Municipal Manager in submitting the exemption application without council approval. The arbitrator therefore agreed with IMATU and ruled that the municipality’s exemption application was not properly authorised.

This is the second of three exemption applications IMATU has opposed for the 2023/2024 financial year. The exemption application of the City of Tshwane was dismissed on 10 September 2023. The remaining exemption application of the Enoch Mgijima Municipality was heard on 12 September 2023 and an outcome is awaited.

We include the following quote from Mr Skhumbuzo Ngwane the KZN Regional Chairperson:

“KZN Regional Chairperson, Mr Skhumbuzo Ngwane welcomes the outcome of the SALGBC when it dismissed Newcastle Municipality’s application for exemption from the salary and wage collective agreement. Ngwane states that Municipalities need to be held accountable for the management of their operations and budgets and cannot look to cutting salary increases of the workers to relieve their woes. These salary increases are negotiated by trade unions and budgeted for, in advance, to help workers deal with the exorbitant and rising cost of living in South Africa presently.  For municipalities to be applying for exemption due to a lack of affordability, is an absolute indictment on their operating practices. This is a well deserving win for the workers.”

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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 for more information.