Unions and Salga to meet this week

Unions are asking for an 11 percent wage hike while Salga is offering 5,9 percent.

FILE: The parties are trying to avoid a nationwide strike. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - With a wage agreement expiring on Tuesday, municipal unions and the South African Local Government Association (Salga) are set to meet this week in a last ditch bid to avoid a nationwide strike.

Following months of failed negotiations South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) and Independent Municipal & Allied Trade Union (Imatu) still couldn't reach a deal with Salga.

Unions are asking for an 11 percent wage hike while Salga is offering 5,9 percent.

Samwu's Papikie Mohale said, "We are going for conciliation from 1 to 3 July. This comes after negotiations broke down between us and Salga. We have gone through three rounds of negotiations, which we believe were fruitless and a waste of our time."

Last month, Samwu abandoned talks with employers, labelling the offer 'ridiculous'.

The parties had failed to find middle ground, after Samwu left the negotiating table, accusing Salga of trying to introduce performance-based increases.

Salga had bumped up their offer to 5,9 percent but Samwu was still not impressed.

The union's General-Secretary Walter Theledi says the association's revised offer is a slap in the face of workers who have scaled down their request from 15 percent.

Theledi insisted they were not interested in a fourth round of talks should Salga fail to improve its offer.

Meanwhile, Salga is accusing the union of derailing talks.

It says the impasse will only be dislodged around the negotiation table.