The Metal Industry Main Agreement (MA) was gazetted by the Minister of Employment and Labour on 7 October and became legally binding on all employers, including Temporary Employment Service (TES) providers, in the metals and engineering (M&E) sector on 17 October 2022.

A key and unique feature of the MA is that it does not differentiate between an employer owning and/or overseeing a factory and a TES provider providing labour and related services to employers in the sector. The MA treats both exactly the same and apart from the provisions related to joint and several liability contained in the Labour Relations Act (LRA), TES providers in a post gazettal operating environment are legally obliged to adhere to all the terms and conditions of engagement, employment and deployment contained in the MA.

Over and above what the LRA prescribes for TES providers, the MA sets out a comprehensive set of terms and conditions related to how TES providers should operate in the M&E sector. In a post gazettal environment, should must be read as shall and whilst some TES providers may be tempted to cut corners and claim ignorance when it comes to various legal compliance obligations contained in the MA, the Bargaining Council i.e., the industry’s compliance and enforcement agency, will not be swayed by arguments of ‘’I did not know” or “I wasn’t aware”.

Clients of TES providers who knowingly or unknowingly enter into commercial agreements containing provisions in conflict with the MA will be found wanting. The Bargaining Council will have no hesitation in following up on such complaints, will site the TES provider and the client in any ensuing dispute and should the client and/or the TES provider be found wanting, joint and several liability will come into play.

In a business environment where legal compliance is becoming increasingly complicated, it’s imperative when considering making use of a TES provider, you do so knowing you are contracting with an agency that is reputable, compliant and most importantly, has been vetted by a body that was instrumental in getting TES providers recognized as being no different to any other employer operating in the M&E sector – the CEA (TESD).

The Temporary Employment Services Division of the CEA is the only reputable voluntary professional body of TES providers in the M&E sector. The body speaks for and on behalf of TES providers and ensures that TES providers are treated no different to any other employer in the sector, are recognized for the important service they provide and are acknowledged for the many thousands of pathways they have created for employees who have been provided to clients and over time find permanent employment.

The CEA (TESD), as a condition of accredited membership, will require that a TES provider seeking affiliation subject itself to an accreditation audit , conducted by an independent auditor, appointed by the CEA (TESD) in order to verify and validate legal compliance with provisions contained in the MA, LRA, MEIBC, MIBFA etc. Having passed the audit, the TES provider will be issued with a certificate of compliance and will be loaded to the industry data base of compliant TES providers. This process enjoys the full support of the Bargaining Council, the Department of Employment and Labour, industry trade unions and for employers or clients amounts to a resounding vote of confidence and peace of mind.

Should you be interested in joining a body of reputable and professional TES providers and in the process network and be part of the on-going discussions related to the future of TES providers in the metals and engineering industry, no more than ever would be a good time to do so.

To join the CEA (TESD) or to get more information on the benefits of being a member email Christa Smith at or visit the TESD website at