The SALGBC is established voluntarily in terms of the Labour Relations Act, by agreement between the employer organization (SALGA) and trade unions parties (IMATU and SAMWU). This agreement is contained in the Council’s Constitution (a collective agreement), which is the fundamental governing instrument that regulates the relationship between the employer organization and the trade union parties, to be read in conjunction with the Labour Relations Act.
The SALGBC is comprised of 3 parties, SALGA, SAMWU and IMATU. SALGA is the only recognized employer organization, representing 257 Municipalities in the local government sector. The trade union parties are SAMWU and IMATU, which represent employees in the 257 individual municipalities. The employer body and the trade unions are responsible for negotiating conditions of service and matters of mutual interest, which culminate in collective agreements that become binding on the members of SALGA, on the one hand, and members of SAMWU and IMATU, on the other.
The broad functions or purpose of the Council are:
- To conclude collective agreements for the local government sector and enforce such collective agreements.
- To provide a dispute resolution function for the local government sector.
The council’s highest decision-making body is the Central Council. The council’s governance and administrative structures are underpinned by a two-tiered system where certain decisions are reserved for the Central Council and other decisions are devolved to the divisions of the council.
Collective agreements are concluded at the central and divisional level. Disputes are mainly managed in the divisions of the council.
The parties to the council participate in all the various structures and take the final decisions, except on certain administrative matters.
The council’s administration is headed by a General Secretary, who has overall responsibility for the Central Council and the 13 divisions. Each division is headed by a Regional Secretary, who reports to both the division and the General Secretary of the Central Council. The 13 divisions of the council are divided into six regions, with a Regional Secretary in charge of a particular regional office and those divisions that fall under its jurisdiction. Some regions span more than one province or division. The council has a total of 41 staff employed in its Head Office and six Regional Offices.
- The Bargaining Committee consists of 20 seats divided equally between SALGA, on the one hand, and SAMWU / IMATU, on the other.
- SALGA has 10 representatives, IMATU 4 representatives, SAMWU 6 representatives.
- The delegates, at the first meeting of the year, appoint a chairperson from amongst the delegates to the Bargaining Committee. The Bargaining Committee may appoint a chairperson from outside the delegates of the parties representatives.
- The Bargaining Committee has the power to conclude any collective agreement relating to terms and conditions of service or any other matter referred to it for bargaining by the Executive Committee.
- A dispute that arises in the Bargaining Committee is resolved in terms of clause 11 of the Constitution.
The Executive Committee has established the following sub-committees:
- The Employee Benefits Working Group, which deals with matters related to retirement funds and medical aid issues.
- The Municipal Services Working Group, which deals with municipal services. Much of this group’s deliberations have to do with the restructuring of the electricity, water, health, police services and other municipal services.
- The Finance and Human Resources Committee, which advises the Executive Committee on financial and human resource matters.
- The Technical Advisory Committee, which deals with any matter that is delegated by the Executive Committee for consideration.