Samwu rejects new wage offer

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu), whose members have been on strike since Monday, on Thursday rejected the employer’s latest wage offer.

”After lengthy discussions, the national executive committee rejected the latest revised wage increase proposal by Salga [South African Local Government Association],” Samwu general secretary Mthandeki Nhlapo said in a statement.

”We discussed a number of ways of resolving the impasse and we will approach the negotiations set for today [Thursday] with a view to reach an agreement that meets the needs of our members.”

Earlier, fellow union the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) said a wage deal was ”close”.

”We are close. We consulted through the night, also with structures in Samwu,” said Imatu general secretary Johan Koen.

”It [a deal] is close … in terms of our internal structures,” said Koen, declining to elaborate.

”We are meeting the employer again at 11am.”

The two unions will report back on mandates from their members following a new wage offer tabled by Salga on Friday.

Salga is offering an 11,5% salary increase to be implemented retrospectively from July 1 2009, with a further 1,5% increase from January 1 2010. This results in a 13% increase.

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

Meanwhile, the municipal worker strike was set to continue on Thursday in major centres like Johannesburg and Durban.

”The strike will continue until further notice,” said Samwu.

About 125 000 Samwu members were staying away from work while most of the 70 000 Imatu members returned to work on Tuesday. — Sapa

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