The Main Agreement Wages and Conditions of Employment Negotiations which continued today (15 June 2017) ended with the trade unions all declaring a dispute against the employers and the employers, in response, declaring a counter-dispute against all the trade unions.
The crux of the dispute declared by the trade unions relates to three views strongly held by labour:
- fundamentally, that the trade unions will not accept any changes to terms and conditions of employment that are aimed at diluting or varying downwards the existing terms of employment;
- secondly, that any wage offer must be based on actual rates of pay, as opposed to minimums;
- and, thirdly, that any eventual settlement must be extended to all non-parties in the industry.
During the session today, the employers made reference to the importance of constructing a new collective agreement that is competitive in nature and caters to the different needs of each employer constituency. Employers again stressed the importance of keeping factors like business sustainability, competitiveness, job retention and job creation in mind during the negotiations.
Employers reaffirmed the offer of a 5,3% wage increase (informed by the current official inflation rate) on the current minimum rates, accompanied by demands for a three-year Agreement, among other things.
In terms of the Bargaining Council’s Constitution, the dispute is now likely to be dealt with at a Management Committee Meeting of the Council on Wednesday, 21 June, where the parties will agree on how best to process it.
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