After three rounds of negotiations the negotiating parties in the Metal and Engineering Industry (MEIBC), South Africa’s largest Industry, have reached a deadlock.
With regard to all the crucial substantive issues no progress has been made,’ NEASA Chief Executive, Gerhard Papenfus said. ‘If further attempts to reach consensus fail, it is likely that a national strike will commence in July this year.’
The Metal and Engineering Industry is already at least 30% more expensive than other Industries in which collective bargaining arrangements exist and up to 60% more expensive than Industries covered by sectoral determinations issued by the Minister of Labour.
‘The Metal and Engineering Industry has become completely uncompetitive resulting in the loss of more than 250 000 jobs just over the last five years. We are competing in a global environment and unless we drastically adapt the cost structure of the Metal and Engineering Industry, manufacturers in this Industry will eventually become extinct,’ Papenfus said.
Whilst South Africa above all else needs labour incentive workplaces, the current dispensation forces employers to mechanise or, even worse, export manufacturing elsewhere. Unless this Industry is totally revamped, employers in this Industry, or what remains of them, will become distributors of goods manufactured abroad.
Thát South Africa cannot afford. NEASA is adamant that no social scheme nor any assistance to the unemployed and the poor can replace a job, even if it is a low paid job.
‘During the month of June negotiating employers will do everything in their power to reach a common position with the unions, without further compromising the sustainability of the Industry,’ Papenfus said
Sya van der Walt-Potgieter