Municipal strikes continue as workers mull new offer

Municipal worker unions are set to decide on Wednesday if a new wage offer would be accepted as a national strike enters its third day.

”The mandates of our members will be reported on in a meeting scheduled for 2pm,” said South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) general secretary Mthandeki Nhlapo.

A strike by its 125 000 members, who have been criticised for unruly behaviour in the past days, will continue countrywide on Wednesday, said Nhlapo.

Meanwhile, fellow union the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu), which represents about 70 000 workers, said early indications were that its members would accept the latest offer from the employer.

”At this stage, it is looking reasonably positive,” said Imatu general secretary Johan Koen.

”Ninety-five percent of our members already returned to work on Tuesday.”

He said an official decision would be made later on Wednesday, in time for a meeting with the South African Local Government Association (Salga) on Thursday.

Salga is offering 11,5 % from July 1 this year, plus another 1,5% in January next year, which will result in a 13% increase.

At the time that disputes were declared with the employer, Imatu was demanding 13% and Samwu 15%.

SABC stayaway
Meanwhile, a nationwide stayaway by striking South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) workers began on Wednesday, the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) said.

The stayaway is set to continue to Thursday and will include pickets by workers at SABC offices, said CWU national collective bargaining coordinator Vulture Ntukuli.

”Thereafter we will evaluate the processes of how the government responds. This may require the intervention of the minister,” he said.

Ntukuli said the CWU and the Media Workers’ Association of South Africa were demanding a 12,2% wage increase, while the SABC was only offering 8,5%.

Unions were due to meet the chair of the SABC board on Friday. — Sapa

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