Samwu declares dispute on deadlocked wage talks

Talks with Salga collapsed two weeks ago when Samwu refused a 5,9% pay hike offer.

FILE: Chaos broke out in the Cape Town CBD during the Samwu strike on 6 May 2015. Picture: Xolani Koyana/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) has declared a dispute after wage negotiations deadlocked.

Talks between unions and the South African Local Government Association (Salga) collapsed two weeks ago when Samwu refused to accept a revised 5,9 percent pay hike offer.

The union is demanding an 11 percent increase.

Samwu general secretary Walter Theledi said, "The reason for declaring this dispute is based on the fact that we see no progress in the negotiations. So by virtue of us declaring that dispute it simply means the matter must go to conciliation."

But Salga's Tahir Sema says the union is jumping the gun.

"There is no reason at present to declare a dispute because we still have one more round of negotiations that we had all agreed on before we left the third round of negotiations. To go back on that and to now declare a dispute is premature."

In May, Samwu threatened mass action against municipalities due to Salga apparently wanting to introduce performance-linked salary increases.

Wage increases between unions, Samwu, the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union and Salga were abandoned after the association wanted an agreement on performance-based increases.

Salga said the union had misunderstood its intention as performance valuations would be for an additional two percent on top of the principal 5,4% offer.