Wage Negotiation Advisory No. 12

South African Engineers’ and Founders’ Association

15 June 2017

The second round of industry wage negotiations took place today (15 June 2017) at the MEIBC in Johannesburg.  We previously circulated two circulars following the discussions, one of which is the Joint Employer Caucus Communication Brief, the other is the employer position tabled at today’s meeting.  Further details of today’s engagement are provided below.

CCMA Senior Commissioner, Afzul Soobedaar, opened the meeting and immediately requested the employers to speak first.  The employers expressed their disappointment with the lack of detailed response from the trade unions to the employers’ position.  Whilst there had been some response from the unions, it was effectively just a reiterating of their broad principles, such as the ‘no to downward variation of conditions of employment’ view.  The employers again stressed the dire state of the economy and industry, making detailed reference to the current recession being experienced in the country, the risk of further downgrades by ratings agencies and the current, unacceptably high unemployment rate.  It was noted that youth unemployment in particular, was sitting at 50.4%, according to official sources. 

It was against this background that the employers, although they had acted on instruction by the Commissioner at the previous negotiation meeting to reconsider their position, were not in a position to move.

The employers raised the issue of misinformation being spread by the trade unions to amongst their members and clarified any misconceptions by reiterating the employer position, as well as providing the detail to the proposed reworking of the exemptions procedure for the industry.

Unfortunately, the trade unions responded by declaring that they were in dispute with the employers, who, after a brief caucus, declared themselves to be in dispute with the trade unions.

In terms of the MEIBC Constitution, the dispute necessitates a convening of a Special Management Committee (Manco) meeting within 14 days.  The Manco must then decide how the dispute must be resolved, by choosing one of four options:

  1. Appoint a sub-committee to meet within a specified number of days, for the purposes of attempting to resolve the dispute or to recommend to the parties a process by which the dispute can be resolved;
  1. Referring the dispute to conciliation;
  1. Referring the dispute to arbitration;
  1. Instructing the Secretary to issue a certificate stating that the dispute remains unresolved.

It is expected that the parties will choose option one above and that negotiations will then continue in a smaller subcommittee.  However, if the subcommittee is unable to resolve the dispute, a certificate of non-resolution may be issued, which will open the way for industrial action.  The SA Engineers and Founders Association, in collaboration with Global Business Solutions, is hosting a Wage Negotiation Update and Strike Handling workshop, where practical advice will be given to members on how to handle any industrial action which may be embarked upon. 

Please click on the link below for details or email Charlene (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Gordon (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Wage Negotiation Update and Strike Handling Workshop

Members are welcome to contact Gordon on 083 412 1437 for further information.

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