SIGNATORIES TO AN AGREEMENT
CANNOT APPLY FOR EXEMPTION
Can you imagine a situation where you reach an agreement with somebody on the terms of a purchasing agreement, and once the agreement has been signed, you immediately apply to be exempted from that agreement. Of course you can't. If this was at all possible, price would never have been an obstacle.
NOW COMPARE THIS SCENARIO WITH THE PREVAILING SITUATION IN THE MEIBC
In the MEIBC:-
the agent Seifsa (ostensible on behalf of affiliate organisations) enters into an agreement with trade unions (for instance on wages);
then, through a process referred to by the Labour Court as a 'scam', with and sometimes even without a mandate, and with the help of the Minister of Labour, have that agreement enforced on non-signatories to that agreement; but then
in a very bizarre turn of events, allow for the members of affiliate organisations to apply for exemption from that agreement.
This is one of the most absurd arrangements imaginable and perhaps the single most important reason for outrageous and irresponsible wage increases. The arrangement was quite simple: in order to end a strike – to bring an end to industrial blackmail – simply agree to a high wage increase, pass on the cost to downstream manufacturers and in some cases apply for exemption.
THE HIGH COURT IN PRETORIA HAS JUST PUT A STOP TO THIS MADNESS
In his judgement in the Free Market Foundation's case in the High Court in Pretoria last week, Judge Murphy declared that the right to apply for an exemption from an agreement, is only available to non-signatories to such an agreement.
The result of this is that, since employers affiliated to the agent Seifsa, are bound by agreements entered into by Seifsa:-
will have to make sure that Seifsa is properly mandated iro dealings on their behalf;
they will have to make sure that they will be capable of fully complying with a particular agreement; and
should Seifsa not strictly comply with mandating requirements, they, and their affiliate members, will be exposed to huge risk.
THIS IS AN EXTREMELY POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT, AND ONE THAT, IN ORDER TO SEE TO IT THAT PARTIES ACT RESPONSIBLY IN ENTERING INTO AGREEMENTS, NEASA WILL ENFORCE IT AT ALL COST.