Labour Minister to participate in metals, engineering wage negotiation panel discussion

26th August 2019

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online


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Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi will participate in a panel discussion on the 2020 metals and engineering (M&E) wage negotiations during the Metals and Engineering Indaba (Meindaba), which will be held in Sandton next month.

National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa general secretary Irvin Jim, Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) operations director Lucio Trentini, Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis and Department of Employment and Labour chief director Thembikosi Mkalipi will also participate in the panel discussion.

The previous M&E wage negotiations, which took place in 2017, yielded positive results in the form of a three-year deal and no strike action.

Trentini noted in a statement issued on Monday that employers hope for a similar outcome in the 2020 negotiations, but realised negotiations did not take place in a vacuum.

“A number of key sectors are currently involved in respective sector negotiations; outcomes in these sectors will set the scene for what we can expect in 2020,” he pointed out.

The 2014 M&E wage negotiations culminated in a month-long strike that subsequently led to the closure of smaller companies operating in the sector and massive job losses. This strike followed strikes in the automotive, motor and tyre sectors in 2013 and a five-month strike in the platinum sector.

Trentini noted that, in 2016, the automotive, motor and tyre sectors concluded multiterm agreements without strike action, which positively influenced the outcome for the M&E sector in 2017.

Commenting on the possibility of strikes in the M&E sector next year, Trentini said there was hope that the amendments to the Labour Relations Act introduced last year – which brought back the secret ballot, introduced advisory arbitration and a code of good practice on collective bargaining and default picketing rules – would mitigate the chances of the kind of prolonged and violent strike action experienced in 2014.

Meanwhile, Meindaba will, for its fifth instalment, be organised and hosted by Seifsa. The event serves to provide a platform for policymakers, labour representatives and businesses operating in the metals, engineering and related sectors to discuss the challenges facing the sector.

Other speakers who will address delegates at the conference include Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, Industrial Development Corporation CEO Tshokolo Nchocho, and Brics Business Council South African chapter chairperson Busi Mabuza.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online




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