To All Industry Related Businesses
Please click here for the Joint Employer Caucus Brief.
The Joint Employer Caucus also drafted a letter for your employees, that you may put up on your business’ notice boards. The purpose is to ensure that employees are not mislead by their unions as previously observed in this industry. Please click here for the Joint Communication for Employees.
Parties to the MEIBC engaged again on the 5th and 6th of July 2017. At the outset, the Joint Employer Caucus confirmed that there was no change to the position tabled on 29 June 2017. The unions confirmed they were not willing to move on their initial proposals, until their principle issues were addressed, namely issues of downward variation of a new entry level wage and no increase on minimum rates, but rather on actual rates observes by employees and employers.
The Employer Caucus determined that it would not move on its position, however, there was agreement that the position (document tabled) needed to be worked on to clarify issues which appear to have caused confusion and uncertainty on the side of the unions.
After significant and robust debate an updated document, which fleshed out and clarified the Employer position, was drafted. The issues in principle, remained the same:
- Duration of the Agreement
- Extension to non-parties
- Entry level wages
- Wage Rate for each of the 3 years
- Enhancement of the Exemption Procedure
- Enhancement of clause 37
All significant engagements were conducted via the lead negotiators and the Facilitator.
The initial intention was to keep the process open and engaged. During the course of Wednesday the 5th of July, it became evident that this approach was not achieving a real result. The positions within the Employer Caucus became more positional and the position of Labour remained absolutely unchanged, as seen from the onset.
On the 6th of July 2017, Employer Organisations’ positions started to vary. A new strategy was discussed on the impact of these diverse positions. The Employer caucus split into two groupings with NEASA declaring their distance from the Joint Employer Caucus. The final draft of the Employer position (excluding NEASA) was tabled on Thursday the 6th of July. However, the unions’ response remained unchanged and rejected the employer proposal once again, with no counter proposal from their side whatsoever. The various unions gave individual and varied responses which was a significant rejection of the various Employer proposal. Further, NUMSA declared an outright rejection of the Employer position and requested the issue of a strike certificate.
It is important to note the procedures which impact on the issue of a strike certificate:
The negotiation process is determined by the constitution of the MEIBC, and therefore a certificate can only be issued on instruction from the MANCO. The MANCO meeting will take place on Friday the 21st of July. This is therefore the first opportunity to have the certificate issued. Notice can therefore only be given after this date.
However, the unions did declare a dispute on the 15th of June and in terms of the Labour Relations Act (LRA), as amended, a thirty (30) day dispute period is in play, where after the unions would obtain a strike certificate on the 16th of July and may then give forty-eight (48) hour notice of national strike action. NUMSA indicated their intention to use this provision in the LRA.
With regard to the abovementioned, the anticipated timeline appears to be:
- The 30-day dispute phase expires on 16 July
- There is an indication that marches have been planned for 18 and 19 July
- Industrial Action may take place shortly thereafter.
CEO will keep our members abreast of developments in this regard.