At a meeting of the MEIBC Negotiating Committee facilitated by the CCMA today, all the trade unions reported that the SEIFSA proposal that negotiations for the current cycle be deferred and that the terms and conditions of the Main Agreement concluded between the Parties for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2020 be extended until 30 June 2021 was close to being endorsed by their respective members.
Given the unprecedented socio-economic challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the SEIFSA-affiliated Employer Organisations (representing 56% of all scheduled workers in the employ of the employer organisations on the Bargaining Council) and the sector’s five biggest trade unions (collectively representing 49,8% of all scheduled workers employed by all the Employer Organisations on the Bargaining Council) are on the brink of concluding an unprecedented stand-still agreement which will see the retention of all existing Main Agreement terms and conditions of employment and the freezing of the current wage rates until 30 June 2021.
The imminent signing of this historic standstill agreement, which will see workers not receiving an increase over the next 12 months, will be the first of its kind in traditional industry collective bargaining arrangements. When concluded, it will mark a watershed moment in business and labour coming together in recognition of an industry which finds itself in severe distress as a result of a pandemic which shows no signs of abating.
In the meantime, member companies are encouraged to continue to observe the current terms and conditions of the Main Agreement, in good faith and in accordance with sound industrial relations practice.
We will keep you informed on all developments relating to the extension of the current Main Agreement to 30 June 2021.
Kaizer M. Nyatsumba
Chief Executive Officer