At today’s CCMA facilitated MEIBC Dispute Sub-Committee Meeting (held between NUMSA, Solidarity, UASA, MEWUSA, SAEWA, and the SEIFSA Employer Associations, NEASA and SAEFA) NUMSA exercised its right to call for the issuing of a certificate of non-resolution.

Members will be aware that negotiations are taking place under the auspices of the MEIBC’s Constitution, which prescribes that once a dispute has been declared and a process has been agreed on how best to deal with the dispute – on the expiry of a thirty-day window – any party to the dispute may call for the issuing of a certificate of non-resolution.

With NUMSA having declared it’s dispute against all the employer organisations on the 29 July, and SEIFSA obo the Associations having countered with it’s dispute against NUMSA on 2 August, NUMSA is within it’s right to call for the certificate.   

It is important to note that the certificate of non-resolution does not automatically trigger the issuing of the 48 hours’ notice of intended strike action. NUMSA will still need to formulate their strike notice and formally serve it on SEIFSA, NEASA, CEO and SAEFA.

Over and above the requirement to formally serve the strike notice on the employer organisations, Strike and Picketing Rules will need to be agreed between the parties,  failing which the CCMA Facilitator will impose such rules on the parties. 

Having called for the certificate, NUMSA, supported by all the trade unions indicated their availability to meet with all employers in a final push to find common ground. The SEIFSA appointed Negotiating Team will immediately be taking NUMSA up on this offer and will ensure that no other party is left behind. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee what NEASA, CEO and SAEFA may or may not do.

In closing we will continue in our endeavour to do whatever is reasonably possible to avoid the prospect of industry industrial action, which regrettably will be in no-one’s best interests.

In the light of this latest development, members are once again urged to plan for the worst case scenario and ensure that adequate stock, material, enhanced security etc. are in place. We will immediately advise the membership should continued negotiations break down further and/ or a formal strike notice has been issued and received.

Insofar as our dispute against NUMSA is concerned, I can confirm that all the necessary constitutional requirements in respect of each Association’s Constitution, with reference to conducting a secret ballot, have been met. The ballot was overseen and scrutinized by an independent organisation. The support to implement a lock-out against a strike, should it become necessary to do so, was unanimous.

If it becomes inevitable that strike action will materialise and employers may wish to implement a lock-out, we will immediately on receipt of the formal 48 hours’ notice of intended strike action, circulate the requisite company lock-out letter.

We will continue to keep all members fully informed as developments unfold.