Oct 12, 2012
Collective action needed to restore labour peace – Seifsa presidentBack
Engineering|Gold|Johannesburg|Africa|CoAL|Industrial|Platinum|Africa|South Africa|Embattled Manufacturing Industry|Manufacturing|Mining|Steel|Henk Duys|South Africa
© Reuse this
Delivering the federation’s yearly presidential address, in Johannesburg, Duys, who proclaimed himself to be an “unashamed capitalist”, said there was a need for the social partners to “work together to restore peace, before it is too late”.
The address was delivered against the backdrop of serious industrial relations tensions in the mining sector and a protracted truckers strike, which was resolved on October 12, following several violent, some deadly, incidents.
The National Treasury estimated that the unprotected strikes in the mining sector, involving some 75 000 miners, had, by early October, resulted in gold, platinum and coal production losses of R4.6-billion.
In 2011, Seifsa and six industry trade unions signed a three-year settlement agreement for the period from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2014.
That agreement followed on from a period of strike action, which was also characterised by incidents of violence. It provided for staggered wage increases, from 8% to 10% for skilled and unskilled hourly-paid employees respectively.
The deal was also associated with the establishment of an ‘Industry Policy Forum’, tasked with probing strategic challenges facing the industry, particularly ways to improve competitiveness and the creation sustainable employment conditions.
Duys argued that the unions were a “stabilising force with whom we can engage and negotiate”. But he also stressed that there needed to be an appreciation from trade unions that Seifsa’s 2 250 member companies, which collectively employed 250 000 people, were in survival mode. “As good corporate citizens we are fully aware of the roles that we are expected to play to bring normality to our society, but our first priority is to survive.
“Please note that I am talking about survival. I am not talking about growth, I’m talking about retaining existing jobs – we have to survive first, then we can grow,” Duys averred.
The current threats to the bargaining process in the industry, which were being driven by events in other sectors, as well as internal elements, could further threaten the survival of many companies.
Duys was particularly unhappy with the threat posed by the National Employers Association of South Africa (Neasa), which represented about 900 companies, employing 21 000 people. Neasa, which had mounted legal challenges to the latest wage agreement, was also contesting Seifsa’s presence on the council as an appointed and mandated agent for the registered employer associations.
He argued that Neasa, which had been allocated the majority of seats in Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC), could be “trying to destroy the council from within”.
“The disproportionate and temporary dominant position afford to Neasa [in the MEIC] has to change quickly and Seifsa will be taking action to rectify this anomalous and unfair position.”
But he acknowledged that Seifsa was also in need of an “overhaul” to remain relevant, indicating that the independent associations affiliated to Seifsa should be give greater space to “represent their own interests . . . at source”.
“The bargaining arena must accommodate this change,” he added, with Seifsa assisting with specifically mandated negotiations with unions and with national lobbying efforts.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Metals News
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
Updated 5 hours ago While Ekurhuleni-based transformer manufacturer Reliable Transformers currently designs, manufactures and tests its products according to the SANS 780 specifications for distribution transformers and other applicable transformer specifications, it is working towards...
Updated 5 hours ago Global endpoint security solutions company Kaspersky Lab has introduced new measures to prevent cyber criminals from accessing sensitive data, alongside its malware-signature and heuristic device analysis detection methods. Threats to mobile devices have increased...
Updated 5 hours ago To ensure uptake and a positive impact, Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) networks in cities must be provided at schools, community centres and commercial centres to enable citizens and government to access information that will improve access to and delivery of services....
Updated 5 hours ago Eco-estate Monaghan Farm, located near Lanseria airport, north-west of Johannesburg, has taken a new approach to modern living and sustainability with its 517 ha development, dedicated to farm living.
Updated 5 hours ago Forklift and lift-truck distributor Goscor Lift Hi-Reach launched the Genie SX-180, the tallest self-propelled super boom in Africa, in Johannesburg last month. “As the official distributor of the well-known Genie range of equipment in Southern Africa, we are pleased...