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PRESS RELEASE- The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA) – Neasa challenges the decision by the Minister of Labour to extend the Metal Industry Agreement to non-parties in the Labour Court

Last week the National Employers' Association of South Africa filed a comprehensive supplementary founding affidavit as part of its application to set aside the decision by the Minister of Labour to extend a fraudulently obtained agreement in the Metal and Engineering Bargaining Council to non-parties. 

In the supplementary affidavit, NEASA attacks the latest extension by Minister Mildred Oliphant on, amongst others, the following grounds;

The Minister of Labour has extended an agreement to non-parties which has never served before any constitutionally prescribed forum of the MEIBC;

On 14 January 2013, three individuals, having had no authority whatsoever to do so, signed an ostensible agreement, outside of any recognised Council Forum, which the MEIBC on a fraudulent manner presented to the Minister as an Industry agreement;

The Minister was obviously aware of certain material defects in the 'agreement', as her Department pointed that out to the MEIBC; this notwithstanding she extended this ostensible invalid agreement on 4 April 2013 without her concerns being addressed; and

The Minister extended this agreement without having had any proper consideration of the levels of representativity of parties to the Council.

'Notwithstanding being requested on numerous occasions to do so, the Minister has failed to give any reasons for extending the agreement to non-parties. It therefore must be presumed that the decision under review was taken without good reason, that evidence before her was ignored and that the Minister has acted irrationally and without good reason', says Gerhard Papenfus, NEASA CEO.

'Prior to her taking this decision, NEASA on numerous occasions cautioned the Minister about these material defects. She was, however, totally unresponsive to our submissions and clearly disregarded it completely in making her decision', he says.

On 20 December 2012 the Labour Court ruled in favour of NEASA when it set aside the 2011/12 Metal Industry main agreement. 

'With that in mind, the Minister should have been more cautious in extending a further agreement. It is reckless for a Minister to promulgate secondary legislation onto an Industry when she is aware of material defects in what is presented to her. The uncertainty this is causing in the Industry is just a further deterrent to growth and job creation', Papenfus said.

'It is now absolutely clear that the Minister's advisors are bent on giving in to the demands of their trade unions counterparts, whilst the strong arguments by NEASA, representing the interests of SMME's in the Council, are conveniently ignored. This is done in order to sustain current collective bargaining structures, even in circumstances when this is no longer justified and in fact harmful to the Industry', Papenfus says.  

For more information:

Sya van der Walt

Media Liaison