Information details of the wage agreement recently concluded between SEIFSA and NUMSA and other unions under the auspices of the MEIBC:
- It is important to note that implementation of this agreement is only compulsory for members of the affiliated associations to SEIFSA.
- If you are not a member of SEIFSA and its affiliates, then there is no obligation on you to implement the terms of this Agreement, unless and until the Minister of Labour has published a notice in the Government Gazette stating that it has been extended to non-party employers.
- Despite the fact that you are not a member of SEIFSA, your workers, particularly if they are unionized, may expect the increases to be given to them.
- You will then have to consider your options.
Although you are not bound by the agreement, you may decide to grant the increases as agreed upon by the Council, for the sake of ‘industrial peace’, bearing in mind the following:
- a) If your employees are NUMSA members, they will probably expect you to follow the terms of the agreement. If you fail to do so then they can declare a dispute and approach the CCMA for a certificate to permit them to embark on a ‘protected’ strike to ‘force’ you to implement the agreement.
- b) However, should your workers decide to unilaterally withhold their labour without following the prescribed dispute resolute procedures, then they will be embarking on an ‘unprotected’ strike which would entitle you to take disciplinary action against them resulting in possible termination of service.
It is recommended that you communicate your intentions clearly to your employees so that there is no confusion.
For your further information please note:
The legitimacy of the MEIBC to make binding agreements that are extended to non-party employers is currently in dispute. The Labour Court has ruled on two previous occasions that this was illegal. As it stands, non-party employers are not obliged to implement or to comply with the terms and conditions of the existing MEIBC agreement. However you are still obliged to pay the usual administrative levies. Further information can be found on www.meibc.co.za.
If your employees are receiving such benefits as additional holiday leave, holiday leave enhancement pay, provident fund contributions, etc., you should keep in mind that you should not make any changes to existing terms and conditions of employment without proper consultation as this may be construed as a unilateral change and constitute an unfair labour practice.
COFESA has made representations to government to transform the bargaining council system to incentivize manufacturing. We welcome recent statements by the Deputy President regarding the need to ‘open up’ the economy. We expect that the National Executive of the ANC will be addressing this issue as a matter of priority. We will keep you appraised of further developments.