Dear Metal Industry employer
The 2017 Metal Industry negotiations commenced on 7 June.
All NEASA's demands (as per the mandate obtained during our recent 'roadshow'), were tabled on 8 June as part of the consolidated employer demands. An important element of our demands is the introduction of a reduced entry level wage for new employees and the application of increases on minimums. On this basis, NEASA offered a CPI linked increase of 5.3 percent. As was expected, this offer and all other employer demands were rejected.
THE SITUATION LEADING UP TO THESE NEGOTIATIONS
The negotiations are taking place within the context of the severe strain the Metal Industry currently experiences. Although the Industry faces many challenges, the cost of labour – the Metal Industry is currently the most expensive Industry with wages generally 50 percent higher than other Industries – plays a major role in the steady decline of the Industry. Just during the last twelve months the Industry lost 25 000 jobs and 500 SMME's closed their doors.
The negotiations also take place against the background of the setting aside by the Labour Court of the extensions by the Minister of Labour of both the 2011-14 and 2014-17 Industry Main Agreements, as well as the 2014-settlement between NEASA and NUMSA which was confirmed by the Labour Court. In terms of this agreement the entry level wages of various grades were reduced by 50 percent. The Minister of Labour chose to ignore the 2014-NEASA/NUMSA agreement when she extended the 2014-17 Main Agreement to non-parties – the extension which was later declared a nullity by the Labour Court.
A CHALLENGE OF NATIONAL INTEREST
The unofficial unemployment rate in South Africa is currently estimated in the region of 40 percent. This poses a huge socio-economic risk to the country. Thus far the leadership of this Industry has done nothing to address this crisis. The taking of decisive decisions can no longer be delayed. This Industry can no longer attempt to achieve short term industrial 'peace', which is in fact destroying the Industry and denying job seekers access to employment. This style of Industry-settlements has, over years, in the long run increased the risk of socio-economic instability.