Employers in the Metal and Engineering Industry Bargaining Council has tabled a very contentious demand for a 50% reduction in pay
rates for categories A to H for new employees. The motivation put forward by employers is “an attempt to stabilize the industry”. Organised labour declared a dispute and the 30 day period within which the parties formally engage to try and resolve the dispute will expire on 15 July 2017.
It is clear that this demand from the employers has not been properly thought through, says Johan van Niekerk, Divisional Manager of the trade union UASA. Besides the fact that we can never agree to reduction of pay rates for workers in the current economic climate, implementation of the employer’s dream could fall foul of the labour legislation.
The demand for a reduction in pay is a huge set-back and counter to national initiatives to address large scale inequalities in society, especially since the employers and shareholders have not indicated what reduction in pay and dividends they are prepared to take.
The second major gap in negotiations is that the employers are offering an increase of 5.4% while some unions representing organized labour are still at between 10 and 12%. With the employers sticking to their conditional offer, it is clear that this round of wage negotiations in the MEIBC is heading for large scale strike action after 15 July 2017.
The employers are also pushing for a three year agreement while organized labour is pushing for an extension of the current agreement for another two years. Organised labour feels that by extending the current agreement for two years will facilitate much needed stability in the council and the industry. The latter is very important after the turbulence in the council which led to the appointment of an administrator by the Department of Labour.
For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview,
contact Johan van Niekerk at 083 282 5673