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Motor industry workers reject wage proposal

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“This sector represents workers in components companies, petrol stations, and car dealerships, and employs approximately 306 000 workers”

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The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has rejected the latest wage agreement proposals by employer bodies from the Motor Industries Bargaining Council (MIBCO), Numsa said yesterday.

Numsa had met employer bodies from the MIBCO for the last day of conciliation under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA), Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said in a statement.

“We were negotiating the terms of a new wage agreement to govern the sector after the old agreement lapsed in August 2019. We have been negotiating with employers since July, and with every engagement, they have not made a single compromise.

“This sector represents workers in components companies, petrol stations, and car dealerships, and employs approximately 306 000 workers,” he said.

At the last meeting, employers had requested extended conciliation because they had indicated that they would be willing to look at issues affecting working conditions. This included the demand for transportation or night shift allowance for fuel station workers, as well as reviewing the peace clause in the agreement.

The employers offered, for chapter three sector (component companies), six percent for the first year and 5.5 percent for the second and third years; for sector five (fuel station workers), also six percent for the first year and 5.5 percent for the second and third years; and for all other sectors in MIBCO, CPI plus 1.5 percent for the first year and 5.5 percent for the second and third years.

“The condition for accepting this wage proposal is that we must drop the demands on the peace clause, and all other demands relating to working conditions, including the demand for transport or night shift allowance because they want to engage on wages only.

“They insist on the peace clause, which locks us into a wage deal of three years, and in that time, we are unable to negotiate benefits and conditions until the agreement expires. Throughout negotiations, they have stubbornly refused to deal with issues relating to working conditions as raised by our members,” Jim said.

“We reject the proposal because it is not very different from what they have been saying since talks began. They have hardly compromised, whilst we have compromised a lot. And it is for this reason that we have requested the CCMA to give us a date to discuss and finalise picketing rules.

This is part of the process which we must follow if we are to apply for a certificate of non-resolution or strike certificate.

“Our members made it clear that we cannot accept any agreement which does not also improve working conditions.”

Numsa remained open for engagement, but would only engage if employers “radically shift their position”.

They had to demonstrate that they were genuine about improving the lives of all employees in the sector, he said. – African News Agency (ANA)