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STEEL INDUSTRY

2020 MEIBC NEGOTIATIONS:

WHAT LIES AHEAD?

In this newsletter:

  • Background
  • What can be expected in the 2020 negotiations?
  • Call to action

Background

The current applicable wage agreement between Seifsa and Numsa binds their members to a minimum wage of R49,56 per hour for the lowest paid job. Adding to that, the additional on-cost of 38 percent (which consists of admin levies, dispute levies, sick pay fund, provident fund contributions, provision for leave enhancement pay, leave pay, additional paid leave, provision for sick leave, provision for family responsibility leave, unemployment insurance fund, skills levies, occupational health and safety contributions), increases the cost-to-company entry level wage (for an unskilled worker) to more than R11 000 per month.

The MEIBC wages are 55 percent higher than the minimum wage applicable in the Motor Industry at the lowest level and 22 percent higher than the rate applicable to artisans.

For many years Seifsa and Numsa have, by means of severe anti-SMME legislative arrangements and corruption, extended these agreements to the rest of the Steel Industry. This has largely contributed to the devastating de-industrialisation of the Steel Industry – in terms of downsizing, business closures and automisation with consequential catastrophic job losses.

Any employer who needs to apply for exemption from these excessive wages is essentially required to, not only plead, but prove poverty for their exemption application to be viewed favourably. By that time it is, for many businesses, already too late to ensure survival.Despite being a signatory to these agreements, many Seifsa employers apply continuously for exemption from these agreements; agreements which they willingly signed and claimed to be affordable and sustainable.

The effect hereof would have been much worse was it not for NEASA’s intervention in the affairs of the Industry since 2010. Since then NEASA has exposed a wide range of irregularities in the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) and has, since 2011, succeeded in either setting aside all the extensions of these agreements or preventing these agreements from ever reaching the Minister of Employment and Labour – who ultimately decides whether or not to extend these agreements to ‘non-parties’.

Throughout this process, NEASA worked hand in hand with the Plastic Convertors’ Association of SA (PCASA), with the SA Engineers’ and Founders’ Association (SAEFA) joining the fight later-on. The continued co-operation between these organisations is essential for the future sustainability of the Steel Industry.

 

What can be expected in the 2020 negotiations?

It is expected that history will repeat itself: Seifsa and Numsa will reach an agreement with or without a strike.

Judging by the past, it is highly unlikely that the outcome of the 2020 negotiations will address any of the underlying structural issues plaguing the Industry, which will result in NEASA not being party to that agreement.

As per their tradition, Seifsa and Numsa will attempt to convince the Minister of Employment and Labour to extend their agreement to the rest of the Steel Industry (the remaining 90 percent of businesses in the Industry). True to NEASA’s nature, we will act in the interest of the Steel Industry and do whatever is required to prevent this from happening.

It goes without saying that a Seifsa/Numsa agreement, if made applicable to the rest of the Steel Industry, will have devastating implications. Just ask yourself: how will your business respond to being faced with a minimum wage of R49,56 per hour (plus on-cost of 38 percent), plus a potential increase of 6-7 percent?

Call to action

Since 2010, NEASA has spent in excess of R24 000 000 in protecting employers against these selfish and industry-destructive Seifsa/Numsa practices.

Apart from the financial demands, NEASA requires the support of each and every employer in the Steel Industry to sustain the defense against the attack on the sustainability and prosperity of this industry.

Any employer, who hasn’t done so as yet, and wants to add weight in support of this fight for the sustainability of the Steel Industry, please indicate your interest by clicking here.

A NEASA official will contact you to discuss NEASA’s membership options.

We look forward to your support. It is essential!

Kind Regards

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