POTENTIAL HARD BLOW TO THE STEEL INDUSTRY
WILL THE 2017 SEIFSA/NUMSA AGREEMENT BE EXTENDED?
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At a meeting of the Management Committee (MANCO) of the MEIBC on 17 May 2018, in an extremely unfortunate turn of events, the Plastic Convertors’ Association of South Africa (PCASA) – who recently succeeded in establishing their own chamber (the Plastics Negotiating Forum (PNF) in the MEIBC – voted with the Seifsa organisations to extend the 2017-Seifsa/Numsa agreement (Solidarity and three other trade unions were also involved) to the rest of the Industry.
This vote by the PCASA has shifted the balance of power in the MEIBC. Even in a worst-case scenario this could not have been contemplated as a possibility.
This has the effect that the wish of 1037 Seifsa-affiliated employers (10,6 percent of employers in the Industry) might be extended to 8752 employers (89,4 percent of employers in the Industry) which chose not to be part of the Seifsa/Numsa-agreement.
This is notwithstanding the fact that NEASA alone has 37 percent more members than all of the Seifsa-affiliate employers put together. This does not even take into account the membership of the employer organisations SAEFA, CEO and SAUEO – which also are not party to this agreement. The consequence of this vote is made possible by the unambiguous SMME-hostile arrangement in the Labour Relations Act which unashamedly protects the collusion between big business and trade unions.
It goes without saying that this is potentially a very hard blow for the Industry.
HOWEVER, THERE IS STILL ONE OUTSTANDING MATTER WHICH MAY FRUSTRATE THEIR EVIL PLANS; THERE IS STILL A GLIMMER OF HOPE. AS ALWAYS, WE WILL KEEP YOU POSTED AS THINGS UNFOLD.
“Trials and difficult times are needed to press us forward. They work in the way the fire in the hold of a mighty steamship provides the energy that moves the pistons, turns the engine, and propels the great vessels across the sea, even when facing the wind and the faces”.
Should this agreement be extended, we will provide all necessary assistance to employers to mitigate its impact. This will bring out the best in us. Instead of discouraging us, it will increase our resolve.
This is also my view that these turn of events will hasten the demise of both Seifsa and the Meibc. I say this for two reasons:
ONE: Anybody in his right mind will realise that Seifsa does not care a damn about the interests of the Industry; and
TWO: Employers who until now thought that it was acceptable to sit on the fence, to be spectators while this Industry ‘life and death battle’ played out, will now realise that apathy has come at a huge cost.