Tensions remain between Samwu, Tshwane Council over wage increase

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Tensions remain between striking members of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) in Tshwane and the city’s administration, after the bargaining council on Tuesday said council should give workers an increase of 5.4% this year.

Tshwane has however not included that increase in its budget, saying that it cannot afford to pay this increase because it has no money.

Tshwane has fallen behind on servicing some of its debt, including to power utility Eskom.

City of Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink says that there was an exemption clause to the agreement.

“Wages in local government are negotiated at a collective bargaining level, but that very same agreement has got an exemption clause which states that municipalities can apply on their individual circumstances if they cannot afford to pay,” Brink says.

“A number of years ago, there were salary increases granted in Tshwane, outside of the collective agreement, those benefits accrued to workers, but had a devastating effect on our cash flow. We’ve experienced a number of other shocks, and the simple point we’re trying to make is that this is not a punishment for honest, hardworking people.”

Last week, Samwu members in Tshwane march over non-payment of salaries: