The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) says it has begun balloting its members for a possible strike in municipalities across the country.
The union is unhappy with the latest wage offer from the South African Local Government Association (Salga), which represents the country’s 278 municipalities.
Wage negotiations between Salga and trade unions began back in March.
Samwu, which represents the majority of municipal employees in the country, is demanding a R4 000 wage increase across the board.
But Salga maintains that most municipalities are cash-strapped and they can only afford an increase of 2.8% or around R250 a month.
Now, the facilitator of the wage negotiations has proposed that the parties settle on a 4% wage increase, which according to Samwu translates to R365 a month.
The union’s Deputy General Secretary Dumisane Magagula says while the union understands that a crippling strike in municipalities is the last thing the country needs at this time, it has no choice but to consider it as a last resort to secure a better deal for its members.
Municipal workers currently earn a minimum salary of R8 300 a month.
The developments on the municipal workers’ wage talks come as the Public Servants Association says it’s one step closer to downing tools in the public service.
This after it was issued with a certificate of non-resolution by the Public Sector Coordinating Bargaining Council last Friday.
The union has rejected government’s offer of a 1.5% wage increase and insists on 7%.
The public sector wage negotiations are on a knife-edge: