On Friday, 26 April 2013, the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA) filed another application in the Labour Court to review and set aside the decision by the Minister of Labour on 12 April 2013 to extend the terms of a collective agreement to non-parties that fall within the scope of the Metal Industry.
This application follows the victory by NEASA in the Labour Court in December 2012 when the Court set aside the decision by the Minister in September 2011 to extend an agreement in the Metal Industry to non-parties.
"On various occasions NEASA has cautioned the Minister that she could not extend this agreement and we believe that she did so as a result of pressure from the trade unions", says Gerhard Papenfus, NEASA CEO.
NEASA views the extension of the agreement by the Minister to non-parties as unlawful, unreasonable and procedurally unfair. Since the Minister has thus far refused to provide NEASA with her reasons to extend, she has, in terms of the application in the Labour Court, ten days to submit the record of all documents that informed her decision and to justify for her actions.
"What we do know is that the Minister had no rational basis on which to rely in determining the representativity of parties to the agreement which was submitted to the Minister. NEASA has made every reasonable attempt to point out to the Minister the ineptness of the audit report that she purports to rely on. The Council and KPMG Auditors that produced the report and the Minister have no idea how many employers and employees are now covered by the Main Agreement following the extension to non-parties", Papenfus added.
According to NEASA, the representativity of the parties who signed the agreement is hopelessly insufficient, even below 25%.
"In order to extend this agreement at all costs, the Minister preferred to ignore these facts which was pointed out to her. She did so in a complete undemocratic and unconstitutional act", Papenfus said.
The Minister also relied on a purported agreement which were never subjected to the MEIBC's constitutional structures. NEASA believes this in itself is illegal and unconstitutional and will render this agreement null and void.
"The actions by parties to the agreement, the MEIBC itself and officials in the Department of Labour advising the Minister, are hostile to the interests of the Metal Industry and the national demands of growth and the eradication of unemployment. This is a selfish act, short sited and aimed to preserve the privileges of a minority, typical of the current bargaining council regime", Papenfus said.
For more information:
Sya van der Walt
NEASA Media Liaison
082 332 9512