REQUEST FOR INQUIRY
INTO THE AFFAIRS OF THE
Dear Industry Employer
Please see below NEASA’s request for the Registrar of Labour Relations to conduct an investigation into the affairs of the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC).
NEASA Media Department
3 October 2016
The Acting Registrar of Labour Relations
Department of Labour
REQUEST FOR INQUIRY INTO THE AFFAIRS OF THE METAL AND ENGINEERING INDUSTRIES BARGAINING COUNCIL (MEIBC) IN TERMS OF SECTION 54(4) OF THE LABOUR RELATIONS ACT.
The letter from Mr Ian Macun dated 23 August 2016 refers.
In terms of the Department’s letter it seemingly was the position of the Department that the intervention in terms of section 54(4) of the Labour Relations Act was not warranted as an oversight committee, tasked with rectifying the issues within the Council, had been established. Furthermore, it was stated that no adverse audit finding in relation to the finances of the MEIBC had been received by the Department.
The oversight committee has to date made no progress on any of the issues it was tasked with. This failure is apparently predominantly due to two factors, namely the lack of any delegated authority to the committee and a lack of co-operation from Council management in respect of the provision of information. These two factors have paralysed the committee for all intents and purposes and it has become clear that the oversight committee will not in any way be the saving grace of the Council.
We recently also became aware that the Council’s auditors had reported an irregularity to the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) due to the Councils’ failure to timeously submit its audited financial statements for 2015. The management of the Council already received this communication on 13 June 2016, but did not see fit to share it with the parties until the end of September 2016 – and only after some parties were made aware of it by the auditors themselves.
It is our understanding that IRBA has the responsibility to report this matter to the Department of Labour, being the appropriate regulator. We attach the letter from Deloitte hereto for ease of reference.
We have furthermore been informed by the auditors that a second letter to IRBA in terms of the 2016 financials is imminent as no audit for the 2016 financials have been conducted within the required time period and in fact, to date, no auditors have been engaged to conduct the audit.
We believe that the reason for this is twofold; firstly, the Council does not have the resources to engage auditors and secondly it is unavoidable that an adverse audit finding will be made in respect of the Council being a going concern.
It is clear that there is a very serious abdication of its fiduciary duties by the Council.
We believe that it would be highly irresponsible of the Department to allow this situation to continue. As previously indicated, the Council is insolvent in terms of any formula that one wishes to apply and to allow it to continue trading from this position will make the Department complicit in the reckless actions of the MEIBC.
In the premise we implore the Registrar of Labour Relations to comply with his responsibilities to conduct an investigation into the affairs of the Council and to deal with this situation appropriately.
History is the sum total of things that could have been avoided.