Annual shut down provisions

The date of the annual shutdown is determined by the company's management, and should be as similar as possible to the previous year's annual shutdown dates.

The annual shutdown must in total, amount to three consecutive weeks' paid leave taken over an unbroken period and include four weekends. In addition, the three weeks' leave must be extended with full pay for each public holiday which falls during the annual shutdown period and which would otherwise have been an ordinary working day.

This year, depending on the start of the annual shutdown, the following public holidays fall into this category, where the normal work week is Monday to Friday:

  • 16 December (Friday) – Day of Reconciliation;
  • 26 December (Monday) – Day of Goodwill;
  • 1 January (Sunday and moves to Monday 2 January) – New Year’s Day;

There is pressure from some unions asking the President to also declare 27 December to be a public holiday, but at the time of writing this explanatory brief, this has not occurred.


All employees are entitled to their full leave pay and leave enhancement pay (bonus) on completion of 234 shifts worked on a five-day week basis or 283 shifts on a six-day week basis, excluding overtime.


A maximum of 234 shifts (5-day week) or 283 shifts (6-day week) may be worked during a single year and are calculated as follows, however this year:


5 Day Week 6 Day Week
Number of days in a year 365 365
Minus Saturdays and Sundays[1] 105 53
Three Weeks Annual Leave (working days) 15 18
Public holidays 9[2] 11
Total number of shifts 236 283

This year there were 53 Sundays in the year.

This year there were two public holidays falling on a Saturday (1 January and 24 September).

Employees who have not worked all available shifts during the year are entitled to pro-rata leave pay and a pro-rata leave enhancement pay:

An employee who worked all available shifts from the first day after the previous year's annual shutdown up to and including the last shift preceding the current shutdown is entitled to full leave pay and leave enhancement pay (bonus).

An employee qualifies for an additional week's paid leave from his fourth and subsequent consecutive periods of annual leave and, by mutual arrangement between the employer and employee, the annual shutdown may be extended by an extra week or the employee may be paid out the monetary value of this extra week's leave. Alternatively, and again by mutual agreement, the extra week's leave may be accumulated until the employee qualifies for three such weeks' paid leave, after which the leave must be taken or be paid out.

In cases where employees are required to undertake essential work during the shutdown, the relevant MEIBC Regional Office must be advised of the names of these employees, and the reasons thereof, at least one month in advance. Such employees must be given their paid leave within four months of the date of the shutdown.


Full (or pro-rata) leave pay and leave enhancement pay are calculated as follows:



SEIFSA is conducting Main Agreement Workshops during the month of November and December, please contact Michael Lavender at  or to make a booking. The training will be conducted on-line.

Please note that In-house training (face 2 face or on-line) and consultation is available on this topic plus many others.


Should you have any queries please contact SEIFSA Industrial Relations Services on (011) 298-9400.

SEIFSA, Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries and Imbokodo Trust join forces to Empower Young Black Woman

Johannesburg, 21 November 2022 – The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) has partnered with the Italian-South African Chamber of Trade and Industries (ItalCham) and the Imbokodo Trust with the aim of empowering young black woman and assisting companies to improve their B-BBEE compliance.

The three organisations have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the aim of exchanging information, including newsletters, reports and market analyses, organising events that provide networking opportunities and introducing potential partners to each other.

SEIFSA CEO Lucio Trentini, ItalCham president Virgilio Da Molo and Imbokodo Trust chairman Theo Sibiya were the signatories of the MOU. Trentini said: “We are confident that our exciting partnership with the ItalCham and Imbokodo Trust will afford SEIFSA’s affiliated membership an opportunity to address the many challenges faced by young black woman in the sector and in the process improve their B-BBEE compliance.”

Da Molo said: “This MOU is very important to us as it will allow us to operate the Imbokodo Trust efficiently and effectively, providing simple solutions to our members and ensuring that the ItalCham contributes meaningfully to the country’s transformation agenda.”

The many synergies between SEIFSA, ItalCham and Imbokodo Trust will contribute to the success of the partnership between the three bodies, all of whom are committed to the highest ethical standards and providing benefits to their membership and beneficiaries.

For the three organisations, the MOU is a pathway to addressing the challenges faced by young black woman in the sector, assisting companies to improve their B-BBEE compliance and in the process contributing to a better South Africa.

In terms of the MOU, SEIFSA has pledged to find beneficiaries for the Imbokodo Trust’s many programmes with strict compliance with B-BBEE legislation, while the Trust has committed itself to contributing donor funding to the SEIFSA Training Centre in the achievement of these goals.

SEIFSA supports companies in South Africa’s metals and engineering sector through lobbying, advocacy and collective bargaining. Its members range from giant steel-making corporations to micro-enterprises employing fewer than 50 people.

ItalCham promotes and facilitates trade between Italy and Southern Africa through market intelligence and tailor-made services and events. It is also a member of the EU Chamber of Southern Africa.

SEIFSA and MEMSA Honour the Brightest and Best in Metals and Engineering Sector Awards for Excellence Annual Event

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA) on Thursday night paid homage to companies in the Annual Metals and Engineering Sector Awards for Excellence Event in Randburg. This year SEIFSA partnered with the Mining Equipment Manufacturers of South Africa (MEMSA), to celebrate the excellence of the local mining equipment manufacturing sector.

SEIFSA CEO Lucio Trentini, with the help of holographic technology, welcomed guests to the ceremony, saying, “We believed that, notwithstanding the many challenges faced by the sector, there are companies within the metals and engineering (M&E) sector that are doing fantastic, innovative work that must be recognised and celebrated. Companies in the sector have demonstrated that they are capable of innovating, and fostering good relations with their employees, suppliers, customers and the communities around their operations. SEIFSA is not only honoured to be associated with each and every entry but, more importantly, privileged to recognise and acknowledge excellence.”

MEMSA CEO Lehlohonolo Amos Molloyi said he was happy to join SEIFSA in celebrating excellence, adding: “While most of our members form part of the steel value chain, their products and services are specifically aimed at meeting the needs of the mining industry, with its own unique and complex requirements. MEMSA are thankful to SEIFSA for allowing us to share the stage with the SEIFSA Awards for Excellence this year, we regard this event as an excellent context for the launch of our awards.

“The SA mining equipment industry is well respected for its technological and innovation advancement; however, the pandemic and lockdowns presented a test to our ingenuity and resilience. It is in the midst of these challenges that we witnessed some excellence in innovation, structuring of work and manufacturing processes, and we are proud to report that not one MEMSA member company, which was actively manufacturing for the mining industry, permanently closed its doors during or since the pandemic.”

Kobus de Beer was awarded the Lifetime Contribution to the Industry Award. He is the current Chairman of International Steel Fabricators of South Africa and the Structural Steel Export Cluster and a Commissioner on the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa. SEIFSA CEO Lucio Trentini mentioned his “incredible career and invaluable contribution to the metals and engineering industry” when announcing the award.

De Beer expressed surprise that he had been recognised, adding: "Thank you to SEIFSA and MEMSA. I am very impressed with all the enthusiasm I have seen tonight, and I see huge potential for the future."

Michelle Austin, the group financial director at Keegor South Africa, was named Business Woman of the Year. Trentini made mention of Austin's appreciation for diversity when presenting her award. “Michele has come to realise that diversity inside and outside of the boardroom brings differing perspectives, opinions and insights; and makes for better decision making.”

Austin said she felt very privileged to receive the award. "What we have focused on over the past few years is employee engagement and we have realised that this has helped us achieve what we have."

The pandemic has brought a new appreciation for resilience in business and Vesconite Bearings showed it had the grit and determination to withstand the enormous challenges it brought, winning the Business Resilience of the Year in Responding to Covid-19 Award.

Vesconite CEO Dr Jean-Patrick Leger said: "Pandemics are actually normal, what is not normal is that there was about 100 years since the last one. It will happen again, so let's be prepared for the next one."

Keegor also received the Workplace Health and Safety Award, which was sponsored by Rand Mutual Assurance (RMA). The company has displayed a commitment to health and safety, with not one Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) contravention since COO Marno Jacobs was appointed in 2019.

Jacobs said: “When I started at Keegor I noticed that the leadership team was very engaged with health and safety, and this helped a lot. We know that our biggest asset is our employees, so we invest a lot in training and ensuring they are kept safe, as one injury is too many.”

The MEMSA Member Manufacturer of the Year Award to recognise excellence in local mining equipment manufacturer was awarded to Bell Equipment.

Bell Equipment director Bruce Ndela accepted the award and thanked MEMSA for "recognising the achievements of Bell over the years".

The pandemic left so much loss in its wake, and the industry lost many people to Covid-19. For the first time in the history of the SEIFSA Awards for Excellence an in-memoriam section was included to remember those who passed away.

Other awards that were presented at the ceremony include:

  • Best Customer Service Award: Macsteel
  • Most Transformed Company of the Year: Pamodzi Engineering.
  • Environment Stewardship Award: MSC Technical.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: Electrolux South Africa
  • Young Entrepreneur of the year Award: Caleisle Ngwenya, the director at CeeWay Engineering.
  • Industry Apprenticeship Award: ArcelorMittal.

Other awards presented by MEMSA include:

  • Customised Customer Service: ProProcess Engineering
  • Localised Supply Chain: Buraaq Mining Services and Rham Equipment
  • Manufacturing Solutions: NTGR Engineering Projects

Trentini also acknowledged the SEIFSA Sponsored Graduate Class of 2021, as well as Bursar of the Year, Karina Sewsunker, who is completing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

SEIFSA joins RMA in bid to prevent workers’ injuries in metals sector

The view that safe and healthy workers are also more productive workers lies at the heart of RMA's Prevention Programme.

The social and mutual insurer launched the programme in April 2022 and is running a pilot programme with its members in the Metals Class. RMA has partnered with the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern African (SEIFSA) which represents the Metal and Engineering (M&E) industry.

“The aim of our Prevention Programme is to complement our members existing health and safety systems, and assist them to improve to their legal compliance,” says Dr Jessica Hutchings, head of prevention at RMA.

The planned COID Amendment Bill spurred RMA to action in assisting its members with their health and safety practices to prevent injuries and accidents, thereby reducing the number of incidents and therefore reducing claims.

RMA encourages companies to join the Prevention Programme to ensure that they are less likely to find themselves on the wrong side of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, however, as their health and safety systems will be fully assessed as part of a gap analysis — an audit of the company will show what processes are needed or may require bolstering or reconfiguration in order to ensure full compliance and best practice.

Under the programme, health is extended to include financial health in the form of helping workers to reduce their debt burdens and improve their financial wellness. “Everyone is experiencing financial stress, though many blue-collar workers are under even more pressure. Financial problems can lead to mental health issues, which can also increase the chance of physical injuries at work. The debt counselling provided by RMS can make people feel more empowered about their finances,” says Hutchings.

For Hutchings, the success of the programme lies in engaging stakeholders, such as SEIFSA. “We believe that an effective Prevention Programme requires the involvement of all stakeholders in the occupational health and safety value chain,” she says.

The broad range of the M&E industry — encompassing small, medium and large corporations — was one of the reasons the industry was chosen for the pilot project as the number of incidents in the Metals Class remains high, in comparison to the Mining industry where the severity is greater.

“As SEIFSA, we are happy to partner RMA in their Prevention Programme. The prevention of injuries and diseases in the workplace is crucial because it contributes directly to productivity while also ensuring the safety and wellbeing of workers,” says SEIFSA CEO Lucio Trentini.

The partnership between SEIFSA and RMA goes further than the Prevention Programme, the insurance company is also sponsoring the Health and Safety Awards at the 2022 SEIFSA Awards for Excellence that will be held on November 17 2022. The awards will celebrate companies in the M&E sector that have displayed innovation, competitiveness and excellence.

Bursary applications now open

Bursary applications are now open

 The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) is an organisation that represents the metal and engineering industry. SEIFSA participates in the support for employer Associations and developed policies to improve the business environment in which its members operate. It also negotiates collective agreements covering wages and employment conditions with the trade unions. It represents employers on the boards of the Engineering Industries Pension Fund, the Metal Industries Provident Fund, the Metal and Engineering Industries Permanent Disability Scheme, the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council Sick Pay Fund, the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council and the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Seta (merSETA).

SEIFSA provides a complete range of products and services to Associations and their members which includes advice, assistance, consultancy (covering labour legislation, dispute resolution, employment conditions, health and safety, broad-based black economic empowerment, contract price adjustment, and skill development), publications, training courses, seminars, and conference.

SEIFSA Bursaries

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) supports and promotes the development of skilled human capital relevant to the Steel and Engineering industry. SEIFSA grants bursaries every year to learners who are pursuing a career related to the Steel and Engineering sector. The financial assistance is awarded to qualified full-time students registered for approved undergraduate Engineering programmes at South African University or students studying towards a National Diploma in Engineering at the University of Technology (UoT).

The following prescribed fields of study are accepted to the SEIFSA bursary scheme:

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Electronics Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Materials Science
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metallurgical Engineering

The full bursary amount will be paid directly to the institution. Costs related to supplementary exams will NOT be paid for by SEIFSA.

Bursaries are renewable each academic year, based on SEIFSA’s decision which is according to fund availability and the recipient’s academic results. Bursary recipients are responsible for providing academic progress reports to SEIFSA and failure to do so may result in the termination of the bursary.

Contractual Commitments

  •  Upon successful completion of studies, bursary recipients will be expected to do vacation work in companies relevant to the steel and engineering sectors in South Africa for a timeframe equivalent to the awarded bursary duration. Confirmation about employment should be reported every year by the students to SEIFSA.
  • Failure to comply with the SEIFSA bursary terms and conditions, withdrawal from the course, misconduct in terms of institution rules, unsatisfactory academic performance, and not informing SEIFSA about other funding sources received will result in the termination of the bursary.
  • Should the student fail to meet the terms and conditions of the bursary and/or withdraw from the course of study and/or obtain financial assistance from somewhere else without advising SEIFSA, the bursary will be terminated.

General Conditions

  •  Bursaries are not awarded for correspondence courses.
  • Bursaries awarded must be taken up at the relevant institution calendar year otherwise they will be forfeited.
  • SEIFSA must be informed immediately of any change of address and/or contact details.
  • No change, of course, will be allowed without the prior written permission of SEIFSA.

Bursary Requirements and Eligibility

Bursaries will be made available to develop identified skills, with special emphasis on scarce and critical skills in the sector and transformation objectives. In order to be eligible for a bursary, applicants will have to fulfill the following criteria:

  • Be a South African citizen
  • 35 years old or younger
  • Good academic results for Mathematics and Science with a minimum of 75% average in Grade 12 / Matric
  • Studying or registered (accepted) to study at a recognized University or the University of Technology in South Africa
  • Passing a standard aptitude test or similar as required by the institution
  • A gross household income of more than R350 000.00, but less than R650 000.00 per annum.
  • The individual does not receive any other/further bursary for costs covered by the SEIFSA bursary;
  • Preference will be given to applications from the designated groups, as well as employees of SEIFSA member companies and dependents.
  • Relevance of the course to the Metals and Engineering industry and areas that fill the gaps in terms of scarce and critical skills


  • The SEIFSA bursary will only cover the cost of tuition fees
  • Students are liable for all other study costs (accommodation, meals, stationery, books, etc)

How to Apply and Application Details

  1. Download and complete the SEIFSA Bursary Application Form
  2. Attach copies of the following documents:
  • Passport size Photograph
  • Proof of registration from the institution
  • A certified copy of matric results
  • An updated certified transcript of your latest academic results from the institution
  • A certified copy of your Identity Document
  • Testimonial from your Employer/School or person of Authority
  • A motivational letter of not more than one page describing with emphasis the reason for choosing the career/field of study and the expected contribution to be made
  • For students entering the second/third/fourth year of study, a summary of previous year’s results must be submitted
  • Medical declaration by applicant if deemed necessary or is a requirement for the relevant field of study
  • Proof of parents income (pay slips)
  1. Submit complete applications to (insert the words “SEIFSA Bursary Application – Your full name in the email subject line)

Applicants will be notified of the results of their applications before the end of 28 February 2022.

The award letter will be given to the successful candidate for the confirmation of their acceptance of the award. The institution will be notified that the bursary has been awarded after confirmation of acceptance of the award.

Recipients must submit their student number and proof of registration to SEIFSA from the institution for the current academic year before the contract is forwarded to the student for signature.

Opening & Closing Date

9th of November 2022 to 30th December 2022

Query details

For any queries regarding this specific bursary program, contact SEIFSA


Zizile Lushaba

Bursary Project Administrator

Tel: 011 298 9443




SEIFSA welcomes the prudent fiscal management approach maintained by National Treasury

Given the difficult economic conditions facing the country, coupled with the many competing interests for funding, SEIFSA commends the National Treasury (NT) for maintaining a prudent fiscal management approach in the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS).

The NT has not let the exuberance of higher gross tax revenues, now estimated to be R92.6 billion higher over the next three years, relative to the February 2022 estimates, distract it from the fiscal consolidation path. The result is an improvement in the fiscal metrics much earlier than anticipated, namely a primary budget surplus of 0.7% of GDP as early as 2023/24, with expectations of a widening in this metric in the outer years. Gross debt to GDP is also expected to be maintained around the 70% over the medium-term expenditure framework and trend downward to 63% by 2030.

SEIFSA also welcomes the growing emphasis placed on spending on building new and rehabilitating existing infrastructure which will increase from R66.7 billion in 2022/23 to R112.5 billion in 2025/26, making spending on capital assets the fastest-growing item by economic classification. Although even much greater infrastructure investment is still necessary to put the country’s economy and the steel and engineering sector on a sustainable path, the growing emphasis on economic investment is welcomed. In fact, SEIFSA’s view is that this was a recurring theme throughout this budget.

SEIFSA has been involved in the NEDLAC consultation on the public procurement bill and welcomes the announcement of a firm commitment that the bill will be introduced to Parliament in March 2023.

Regarding the announcement that the preferential procurement regulations will be released on the 16th of January 2023, SEIFSA has noted with grave concern that National Treasury has maintained the stance that state organs will have the authority to determine their own preferential procurement policies. During public consultation on these regulations, SEIFSA stressed that this approach will create an untenable administrative compliance environment for domestic companies. It will also make institutional coordination, alignment across the multiple state organs, and the monitoring and enforcement of regulations impossible.

A key message from this budget is that global economic headwinds are intensifying with global growth being downgraded from 4.4% to 3.2% in 2022, and 3.8% to 2.7% in 2023, presenting a less supportive economic environment for South Africa’s prospects and growth. SEIFSA continues to stress that in difficult times like these, domestic economic and fiscal policy must do much heavier lifting to counter the global trends. Well-considered industrialisation plans that create a conducive business friendly environment for domestic companies to operate is absolutely paramount. Creating this environment is squarely in the hands of the government and SEIFSA continues to call for greater focus in this direction.

Applying for exemption from the Main Agreement leave enhancement pay

Section 14 of the Main Agreement provides that every employee is entitled to leave enhancement pay calculated on the basis of 8.33 percent of actual earnings excluding allowances.  This pay is calculated on a 40-hour work week or upon the actual normal hours worked on the date that the employee actually goes on leave.

Exemptions procedure

SEIFSA is aware that the current economic environment may pose severe constraints on some member companies’ ability to pay the leave enhancement pay. Members are advised, in this regard, that the industry’s current leave enhancement pay exemption procedure continues to apply.

A company that is unable to pay the leave enhancement pay may submit an application to its local Regional Council for exemption from paying the leave enhancement pay.

The exemption procedure is outlined in Appendix A.

It is important to note that an exemption application must be lodged with the bargaining council by no later than 31 October 2022.

This means that companies wishing to apply for exemption must do so without delay, failing which the trade unions may refuse to consider any such late applications.

Exemption application questionnaire

A pro-forma exemption questionnaire is contained in Appendix B.

A company wishing to apply for an exemption must complete the questionnaire in its entirety and return all the necessary documentation to the bargaining council by no later than 31 October 2022.

Management’s attention is drawn to the importance of the Council’s requirement that an application must be accompanied by the following important information in order for the application to be considered:

  1. A fully detailed motivation explaining the difficulties that the company is experiencing and hence the need for the application. This motivation is not the same as the business plan (see point 2 below).
  2. Audited Financial Statement for the financial year ending 2021/ 2022. In the case of a closed corporation - a full set of Financial Statements which are to be signed by an Accounting Officer and the latest Management Accounts for the last three months. If the Financial Statements are older than six months, then the Management Accounts for the recent three months are required.
  3. Formal confirmation that employees were informed of the company’s decision to make an application for exemption.
  4. Where employees reject the company’s approach, they are to be informed of their right to submit written reasons for objecting to the exemption application and such reasons should be attached as an annexure to the company’s application.
  5. The signature of at least two employees who accept being the representatives for the workforce and who will be affected by the application. Representatives of the workforce are to sign the form, contained in the exemption application questionnaire, consenting to this.
  6. The signatures of employees accepting that they have been informed of the implications of what the firm is proposing to the Council.
  7. Where the employees are trade union members, the company should inform the local trade union office of the intention to apply for an exemption and request, in writing, a meeting with the local official to discuss the impact of the exemption on the company and the members of the union.
  8. Where employees have elected a trade union representative or representatives (shop stewards) these persons should be requested to sign that they were consulted and that they understand the need for applying for the exemption. Where the local trade union official and/or shop stewards have been consulted and where they reject the application, such refusal must be recorded in the application and countersigned by at least two witnesses.
  9. Where the local trade union official and/or shop stewards and affected employees support the exemption application, this signed agreement should be included with the application.
  10. It is recommended that all meetings in this regard between management, employees, shop stewards and union officials be minuted and that the minutes of such meetings be submitted with the exemption application.
  11. The application itself is to be signed by either a Director of the firm, Member, Owner or a Senior Accountant - neither a Bookkeeper nor the Human Resources Manager’s signatures will be acceptable.
  12. The savings in cost to company should the application for exemption be granted and the workings in arriving at this cost.

Please Note:

  • The exemption application will not be considered or processed by the bargaining council unless all the above requirements are met.
  • It is not a condition of the exemption that employees accept the proposed exemption. All that is required is that employees and their representatives are fully informed of the company’s intention to apply for exemption and that this consultation process and their response thereto is formally recorded and submitted with the application.
  • If granted, the employer shall then be obliged to become a compulsory contributor to the Bargaining Council’s monthly contribution scheme.

Condonation application

  • Where companies have failed to make the exemption application before 31 October 2022, they may apply for condonation.
  • In the application, companies will be required to inform the Bargaining Council of the following:
  1. Degree of lateness (days/months)
  • Reason for lateness;
  1. Prospects of success;
  2. Potential prejudice to be suffered by the company if the application is not granted; and
  3. Any other information that may be relevant in assisting their application.

Please note: that the Condonation Application must be signed before a Commissioner of Oaths.

  • A copy of the Condonation Application is attached marked Appendix C

Application Forms

Download forms below 

  1. Application for exemption from metal and engineering industries bargaining council
  2. Employee / Trade Union Acknowledgment of this Application
  3. Application for exemption from the metal and engineering industries bargaining council

Finally, Main Agreement Gazetted

Friday, 7 October 2022 The Minister of Employment and Labour gazetted the Metal Industry Consolidated Main Agreement today thereby making it legally binding on all employers and employees who are subject to the agreement’s scope of application.

This brings to an end a journey that began more than a decade ago – costing many millions of rands, occupying far too much court time and, quite frankly, could have been avoided.

After many rounds of litigation, the fact remains we have an agreement covering terms and conditions of employment, supported by the overwhelming majority of employees who are members of the trade unions (represented on the Bargaining Council) and the overwhelming majority of factory workers employed by employers who are members of one or other employer organizations represented on the Council. I have no doubt, however, that legal challenges will continue all the way to the Constitutional Court.

Whilst the Main Agreement has been unfairly and mischievously characterized as a SEIFSA / NUMSA Agreement, this couldn’t be furthest from the truth. The Agreement enjoys the support of five of the biggest trade unions in the industry, including NUMSA and the support of 18 independent Employer Organizations, in addition to the Consolidated Employers Organization (CEO), who on their own represent in excess of 6 70 employers employing well over 14 000 employees.

Whilst we acknowledge the right of our detractors to continue in their quest to have the agreement declared a nullity, our critics would be best advised to do some introspection and ask themselves what have they been doing for the last twenty years, participating on a forum that is designed and created to support centralized collective bargaining.

Bargaining Council by their very nature are created to uphold standards of fair play and decency, in the hope that every employer is free to run a business in a climate of industrial peace, stability, certainty and workers free to earn a decent wage from an honest day’s work. Bargaining Councils are designed to bring together employers and trade unions with the very purpose of concluding agreements that both sides can live with. This year we witnessed the coming together of NUMSA and the Plastic Convertors Association (PCA), the creation of their own bargaining chamber and the signing-off of their own collective agreement, operating under the auspices of the MEIBC.  This agreement too, has been gazetted and extended to all employers and employees in the plastic sector of the metals industry.

This chamber will join other stand-alone Negotiating Forums and House Agreements all operating under the umbrella of the MEIBC.

In an environment where employers are struggling to keep the lights on and workers eking out a living, one needs to question the strategy of resorting to never ending court action and litigation, to achieve what ends?

Collective bargaining is tough, uncompromising, its contested terrain, it requires ingenuity, creative thinking and solid relationship in order for deals to be concluded. If you represent a constituency, you have a duty through the principle of agency and mandate to bargain as hard as you can to get the best deal possible for your membership.

Our loudest critic has been occupying a key space on the Bargaining Council for over two decades, and we are told time and time again that they represent a considerable constituency. This may be so, but with that comes the responsibility, duty and burden to negotiate, bargain and conclude deals in the best interest of one’s members.

With industry on its knees for reasons employers are all too well familiar, now is the time to rise above the noise and play a constructive role. After all, employers represented by all the Employer Organizations on the Bargaining Council have far more in common than what they think.

When all has been said and done, collective bargaining, in the final analysis, is about relationships not power – its high time our detractors learnt this point and put their shoulder to the proverbial wheel.

The Main agreement becomes legally binding on all non-party employers from Monday 17 October 2022.

Should you wish to scroll through the Main Agreement Click here

If you want to find out a little bit more about the Main Agreement and how it can benefit you and your business attend a the SEIFSA workshop by attending the Main Agreement Training Gazetted Training

If you are reading this and you are not a member of an Association federated to SEIFSA, now would be a good time to join.

To find out more about membership and benefits click here

SEIFSA must demand a far more conducive business environment for its members, says SEIFSA President

South Africa’s severe economic challenges — from load-shedding to the inflationary effects of the war in Ukraine — make it more important than ever for SEIFSA to take a stand and call for a far more business-friendly environment.

This is the view of Steel and Engineering Federation of Southern African (SEFSA) President and Chairman Elias Monage, who was speaking at the Annual SEIFSA Presidential Breakfast on Friday at the Holiday Inn Johannesburg Sunnyside Park.

“These harsh economic realities emphasise the important role that business leaders need to play, and more importantly, the role SEIFSA must play in representing its members in the lobby for a far more conducive and business friendly environment,” said Monage.

The breakfast provides a yearly opportunity for companies in the Metals and Engineering sector to engage with the SEIFSA’s executive team and board of directors. Justice Malala, one of South Africa’s best-known political analysts, founding editor of This Day newspaper, publisher of the Sowetan and Sunday World, and Sunday Times correspondent, provided thought-provoking discussion and in-depth insights in his address.

While Monage recognised that little can be done to change the global economic headwinds, “the domestic ones — which are frankly own goals of bad policy choices and economic mismanagement — are in the hands of the policymakers. And this is where SEIFSA must continue to play the important role of keeping government accountable”.

Locally, the energy crisis has hamstrung the economy and deters much-needed investment, while “the rising cost of capital which will taper domestic economic activity and the poor state of local government, affecting service delivery for companies and infusing costs of doing business, are all headwinds faced by the sector — and at present, only intensifying”, warned Monage.

Malala called for attendees to fasten their seat belts and then took them through some of South Africa's deepest failures — the energy crisis, the looming water crisis, the riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July 2021, the 65% youth unemployment, xenophobia, a widespread crisis of confidence and many more — all contributing to a deep distrust in the ANC, the government and its institutions.

He warned that in the face of all these challenges the “key risk is when people lose confidence in democracy itself”.

But he did mention that there is “some positive news”, including the censuring of consulting firms McKinsey and Bain as a result of what was exposed during the Zondo commission into state capture. “The battle to win over corruption seems to have been rejuvenated,” he said.

He called the Zondo commission a “victory for law and order”, adding that the judge did an outstanding job despite many challenges.

Business has a huge role to play in addressing these challenges, said Malala. “SEIFSA, as an organisation, and many others have a key voice” and can provide the country with a “path forward”.

As part of the presidential breakfast, SEIFSA also announced the federation’s new board at the breakfast, with SEIFSA CEO Lucio Trentini saying: “We are confident that SEIFSA’s new leadership will continue with the excellent efforts of our outgoing board members, and the newly elected members will bring their own dynamism, experience and wisdom to the task.”

Trentini said: “This board has the appropriate mix of expertise, experience and skill to provide the necessary strategic direction and guidance to the SEIFSA Executive.”

SEIFSA’s new board members are: E Monage (President), L Trentini (CEO), T Chibanguza (COO), N Ngwenya, Pam du Plessis, T Tsehlo, E Volschenk, H Mamabolo, R Haynes, M Naidoo, M McCulloch and Pieter du Plessis.

Court dismisses NEASA’s application for leave to appeal with cost

An application for leave to appeal must convince the Court, on proper grounds, that there is a reasonable prospect or realistic chance of success on appeal.

Having considered the merits, Judge Snyman concluded that there is no reasonable prospect that another Court could come to a different conclusion.

Disagreeing with an outcome, Judge Snyman ruled, does not on its own establish prospects of success on appeal.

The events on the day and more specifically the conduct of the President at the Council Meeting, where the agreements were being processed for submission to the Department of Employment and Labour were “clearly motivated by ulterior considerations in pursuit of NEASA’s own objectives.”

Judge Snyman concludes, “I am not satisfied that the applicants have demonstrated any prospects of success on appeal.”

The judgement concludes with Judge Snyman confirming:

“the applicants have shown no reasonable prospect that another Court would come to a different conclusion, and that the applicants thus have little prospects of success on appeal. The application for leave to appeal falls to be dismissed.”

The application, following the same approach as in the original judgement, is dismissed with costs.

Should you wish to scroll through the Judgment click here