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There is NO such thing as the



Seifsa has painted itself into a corner and is now doing all it can to legitimise its own foolishness and weakness.



They recently distributed information in terms of which they attempted to explain a number of issues in respect of the MEIBC ‘Main Agreement’. That’s misleading: there is simply no such thing as a MEIBC ‘Main Agreement’.

What does exist is a party agreement between Seifsa and NUMSA (and a few collaborating trade unions). This agreement only binds them and has no bearing on the rest of the Industry.



The Seifsa circular further states: “This agreement provides comprehensive conditions of employment for some 320 000 scheduled workers (including workers supplied by labour brokers) employed at over 10 000 companies in the industry”. This is a lie:

• Seifsa employers, by virtue of all its affiliates, employ only approximately 115 000 scheduled employees – 36 percent of all scheduled employees in the Steel Industry. It’s only this 36 percent that is covered by this agreement;
• all the trade unions on the MEIBC combined have a collective membership of approximately 155 000 scheduled employees – 48 percent of scheduled employees in the scope of the MEIBC;
• all the Seifsa affiliated organisations combined have a total of 1037 employers as members – 10 percent of the Industry. The remaining 90 percent are not covered by this Seifsa/NUMSA agreement.



Furthermore, the following statement is made by Seifsa: “The terms and conditions of employment in the ‘Main Agreement’ are derived from regular negotiations between mandated employer organisations and representative trade unions in the industry. The employment conditions are not unilaterally imposed by management on employees”. Not true:

• this party agreement is derived from negotiations between minority parties to the exclusion of the majority of employers and employees in the Industry;
• attempts are constantly made, unilaterally and through every means possible, by means of the extension of those agreements (historically mainly through unlawful means), to impose these conditions of employment on the majority of employers and employees who elected not to be part of these agreements.



Seifsa goes on to claim that an advantage of the ‘Main Agreement’ is ” ‘A level playing field’ in respect of employment conditions throughout the industry. This means that companies are unable to gain competitive advantage by undercutting wages or other employment benefits such as not contributing to the metal industry pension or provident funds”. This is utter nonsense:

• what Seifsa refers to as the ‘Main Agreement’, does anything but create a level playing field;
• there is no such thing as a level playing field in this Industry;
• the only beneficiaries of this ‘Main Agreement’ are monopoly capital – the driving force behind Seifsa;
• terms and conditions of employment that may be suitable for large employers are most certainly not suitable for SMMEs with different economic realities;
• this so called ‘Main Agreement’ in actual fact creates a very uneven playing field between large and smaller employers and provides an opportunity for large employers to eliminate competition from SMMEs.



Seifsa uses the ‘Main Agreement’ argument in defense of pension – and provident fund arrangements. That is misleading. These funds are governed by stand alone agreements and the ‘Main Agreement’ has no bearing on their benefits.

Seifsa wants to ‘level the playing field’. However, they are playing on a playing field that they themselves have strewn with thorns – now they want SMMEs to join them there. This we will resist with all our might.

This situation we find ourselves in, is one that employers in the Metal Industry are all too familiar with. A small group of employers sell out the rest of the Industry, for their own benefit, and then attempt to justify their actions by disguising it as a great achievement. However, ‘you can’t put lipstick on a pig’.


In order to achieve change, the support of each and every SMME is needed.
Neutrality is no longer an option.
Click here to join NEASA in its fight for the SMME cause.





Privileged and challenged to be South African.
We are all in this together.