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The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA) has requested the Minister of Labour not to extend an agreement entered into between employers and trade unions in the Road Freight Industry late last year. Although NEASA is a signatory to this agreement, NEASA is opposed to this particular extension due to its continued commitment to ensure constitutional and legal compliance regarding extensions of agreements.

In September 2015 employers and trade unions entered into an agreement which was to come into effect on 1 March 2016, subject to that agreement being extended by the Minister of Labour to non-parties.

In its submission, NEASA points out to the Minister of Labour that, in order for the Minister to extend an agreement to non-parties, she must at least be satisfied that the parties to the relevant agreement is sufficiently representative within the registered scope of the Council. The Road Freight Bargaining Council, on own admission, does not keep record of the levels of representativeness within its whole scope, and consequently does not possess any proof of it being sufficiently representative within its registered scope. The Department of Labour is aware of this fact.

NEASA is of the view that the level of representativity of the trade union parties to the Council is way below the threshold for being sufficiently representative.

Not only is it impermissible and unlawful for the Minister of Labour to exercise her discretion in this regard, it is simply impossible for her to do so as she does not have the necessary and legally required information before her to exercise her discretion. Any attempt by the Minister of Labour to, despite not being in a position to do so, exercise her discretion in this regard will not constitute fair administrative action‘, Gerhard Papenfus, chief executive of NEASA said.

NEASA is vehemently opposed to the non-chalant manner in which the Minister of Labour extends bargaining council agreements to non-parties. NEASA successfully challenged the extension of the 2011-2014 Metal Industry (MEIBC) main agreement to non-parties in the Labour Court. The 2014-2017 agreement, in respect of the same Council, is currently also under review.