South African Engineers’ and Founders’ Association

18 September 2017

There is a huge amount of misinformation doing the rounds in the industry at present.  It is essential that employees fully understand the implications of the introduction of a new entrant wage structure.  We have prepared a circular which helps explain the concept to employees.  Please place the circular up on your company notice boards and explain its contents to your scheduled employees.

We thank you for your continued support.

Please click on the following link to view the circular: Notice to member company employees

30 August 2017

On 24th August 2017, it was communicated that SAEFA remained committed to negotiating an agreement that was inclusive of all employer bodies and trade unions.

SAEFA has kept to this commitment by continuing with negotiations with the trade unions and will remain on this path to ensure that all willing trade unions have the option of being signatories to an inclusive agreement.

The majority of employer organizations excluded from the SEIFSA agreement are also being engaged at present so that no further fragmentation of the employer caucus happens. The SEIFSA agreement has not been negotiated in the best interests of the industry. The rejection of this deal by the majority of employer organizations is testament to this.

14 September 2017

On 7 September 2017, we requested members to comment on a proposed recommendation that the SA Engineers and Founders Executive Committee and Negotiating Team were looking to make.  This follows calls from our members for guidance from the Association in terms of implementing an interim increase, until such time as we are able to settle, in full, with the industry trade unions.

I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the members that did submit their views, comments and suggestions.  I believe that I have spoken either telephonically or via email to all of you.  Once again, we would like to remind employers that the SA Engineers and Founders Association and its members are not parties or signatories to any settlement agreement.

We recommend an interim increase of what you believe is fair for your scheduled staff, which is not legally obligatory, of up to a maximum of 7% on actuals for the next year, while we are still negotiating.  This increase must be set-off against any subsequent, legally binding settlement agreement.  There is no obligation to backdate any wage increases given.  A template memo is available on request.

24 August 2017

The harassment of SA Engineers and Founders members by SEIFSA via email today (Thursday 24 August) needs an immediate response and rebuttal.

Regarding the so-called “shocking decision” by SA Engineers and Founders to defederate from SEIFSA in December 2016, members are reminded that this decision was only taken after extensive discussion with member companies and after SEIFSA had arrogantly refused to engage seriously with our Association on a number of matters which were the cause of serious concern to us.

In his email, the SEIFSA CEO continues to claim that “the vast majority” of SA Engineers and Founders companies have now switched to a SEIFSA member organisation. This is a blatant lie. The facts are that nowhere near the number claimed by SEIFSA have resigned from our Association and furthermore, many companies have since joined.

7 September 2017

Following our update sent out to members dated 5 September 2017, a meeting of the SA Engineers and Founders Negotiating Team and Executive Committee was held this morning.  It was agreed and decided that a recommendation be made to our members regarding the current state of play in the industry. 

Members are to please note the following:

This recommendation has been proposed and seconded by the meeting.  Any member who opposes this recommendation should contact Gordon by close of business, Monday, 11 September 2017.  Any member who has not responded by this time and date will be deemed to be in support.

The SA Engineers and Founders Association and its members are not parties or signatories to any settlement agreement. We are very well aware that the current settlement agreement being touted as an “industry agreement” is only as appealing (on the face of it) as it is, as a result of the presence of SAEFA as an independent party in the negotiations.  This settlement agreement cannot be legally extended to non-parties.  We understand that your employees deserve an increase.

24 August 2017

As you are aware, the SA Engineers and Founders Association does not support the wage agreement signed yesterday by SEIFSA and the trade unions.  There are many reasons for this, chief amongst which are:

  • The deal is detrimental to the industry as it contains none of the employer proposals which are critical to the survival of manufacturing in South Africa. One of these proposals was to allow for the wage increases to be awarded on minimum rates in the industry, as opposed to the current practice of increases being given on actual rates of pay.  The net effect of increases being given on actuals over the years has been to increase real wages in the industry to levels which are now unaffordable to many companies, especially small-to-medium sized ones.  Numbers recently referred to media reports indicate 140 000 jobs lost in the industry in the past 10 years and 25 000 lost over the past year alone.  While not all of these job losses can be ascribed to high wage levels, a very substantial number most certainly can.  This deal will simply lead to more of the same.
  • Another critical employer proposal that is not included in the deal is for a separate wage schedule which would be applicable to new entrants into the sector.  This proposal was made to allow for job creation in the form of allowing employers to take on unskilled employees at a lower rate of pay, in order to upskill them to the point where they can add greater value to the business. This proposal would not affect existing employees in any way.   
  • The deal was reached with the deliberate exclusion of all the employer parties not affiliated to SEIFSA. 

5 September 2017

The SA Engineers and Founders Association is acutely aware of the pressure building within companies with regard to wage increases.  As previously communicated, we have met with the other employer organisations who are not signatories to any settlement agreement and we have also met with the trade union Solidarity, who want time to consider our proposal of a new entrant wage structure.

No other trade union, apart from Solidarity has engaged with us, as SEIFSA and the unions who have engaged with each other, are intent on extending their agreement on the rest of the industry against our will.  However, it is highly improbable that the Minister of Labour will be able to legally extend this agreement to non-parties.

The SA Engineers and Founders Executive Committee and Negotiating Team will be meeting on Thursday 7 September 2017 at 09h00 to agree on the way forward and a recommendation dealing with wage increases will follow from this meeting.

18 August 2017

65 members of the SA Engineers and Founders Association attended the general meeting yesterday and a further 20 proxies were received from others.  After extensive discussion on the proposed deal reached between SEIFSA and the trade unions (previously circulated), it was agreed that the Association should not support the deal.  There was not one dissenting voice or objection to this decision.

The main reasons for this decision having been taken were that this deal is detrimental to the industry as it contains none of the proposals made by our members which are critical to the survival of manufacturing in South Africa.  In addition, the deal was reached with the deliberate exclusion of all the employer parties not affiliated to SEIFSA. 

The Association, together with other employer parties, will now continue to engage with the trade unions to address these serious omissions.