Samwu, Salga back in talks

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) was back in talks on Monday afternoon with the South African Local Government Association (Salga) in the hope of ending a week-long strike that has disrupted major services.

“They began another meeting at 3pm,” said Samwu spokesperson Tahir Sema.

At issue is whether lower- and middle-income employees would receive two years’ back pay if their salaries were adjusted to what Samwu would consider market-related amounts.

Sema would not say if agreement had been reached on the salary-curve issue.

Salga had previously said it did not have the budget to increase salaries beyond the annually negotiated percentages.

Sema said that by late on Monday it should be known whether the strike would stop, be postponed, or continue.

If agreement was reached on Monday, an announcement would be made on Tuesday calling members back to work and services would resume by the earliest Wednesday.

An agreement that Salga would no longer outsource lawyers for disciplinary hearings was the only detail Samwu would reveal.

The strike had affected not only refuse removal — which had left many city centres heavily littered as the country prepared to host international visitors for the Soccer World Cup — but had impacted on almost all council services, including primary healthcare, municipal bus services and burials. — Sapa

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