According to various health experts and sundry commentators, the current Covid-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge, unmatched since the Spanish Flu and the Great Depression. It has depressed global economies and a material shrinkage in global and domestic trade is expected. Covid-19 has landed on our shores at a time when our economy was already under tremendous strain.
Following more than 13 weeks of lockdown, business finds itself in survival mode and the consequences for the metals and engineering sector are going to be severe for employers and employees alike. Nobody knows for certain what industry will look like in a post-lockdown, Covid-19 reality.
Given the remaining restrictions on movements and gatherings and the fact that the Main Agreement negotiating timetable has been irreversibly affected, the Employer Association federated to SEIFSA are firmly of the view that the Main Agreement in its current form is worth preserving and that negotiations should be postponed to 2021.
A negotiating team representing Employer Associations affiliated to SEIFSA has been involved in talks with all the trade unions, on the postponement of the 2020 negotiations, since alert level 3 of the lockdown. Whilst efforts continue to finalise the details surrounding the proposed extension of the current Main Agreement to 2021, we urge all member companies to continue to observe the current terms and conditions of the Main Agreement, in good faith and in accordance with sound industrial relations practice, during the hiatus period after 30 June 2020.
Discussions on the postponement of negotiations and extension of the current Main Agreement to 30 June 2021 are still ongoing. We will keep you informed on all developments as soon as we are able to do so.
Kaizer M. Nyatsumba
Chief Executive Officer