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Metal Industry 2011 – 2014 Agreement set aside by Labour Court

Posted in: Press releases
Date Added: 2014/12/18

18 December 2014
Following various legal battles the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA) fought in the Metal and Engineering Industry Bargaining Council over the last four years, the Labour Court in Johannesburg has reviewed and set aside the 2011-14 Metal Industry Main Agreement.
The 2011-14 Metal Industry Main Agreement is the result of an agreement between the federation Seifsa and trade unions, which the Minister of Labour extended to employers which were not party to that Agreement.
NEASA has continuously pointed out the unconstitutionality and administrative incompetence, in various respects, of that Agreement. Over years NEASA's arguments were ignored by the MEIBC secretariat, the parties to the MEIBC, as well as Minister Mildred Oliphant.
In setting aside the 2011-14 Agreement, the Labour Court found that the Agreement which the Minister of Labour extended was never even concluded under the auspices of the MEIBC. The Court also severely criticised the MEIBC and the Department of Labour for the irregular way in which it sought extension to non-parties of the Seifsa/trade union agreement.
The Court also criticised both the MEIBC and the Minister for failing to get their 'proverbial house in order' and for the fact that they 'have failed to do so in ways that are both obvious and fundamental'.
'In defiance of NEASA's constant arguments that this is an illegal and unconstitutional Agreement, in the sense that the Agreement was illegally obtained and extended to non-parties, the MEIBC enforced the terms of this illegal arrangement, mercilessly pursued struggling businesses, which caused many businesses to close their doors,’ Gerhard Papenfus, NEASA Chief Executive said.

NEASA is saddened outraged by the devastation caused to the Industry over the last few years.
'During the three year period of this agreement the Metal Industry became less competitive and unemployment hugely increased. All this has happened whilst an illegal arrangement was enforced on SMME's. This is scandalous, to say the least,’ Papenfus said.

In light of the negative impact that the previous Agreement’s had on the Industry, NEASA finds it absurd that the MEIBC would like to extend the July 2014 Agreement to the whole Industry.
'As if this is not enough, the MEIBC is again attempting to extend another illegally obtained Seifsa/trade union agreement to a vulnerable industry, this time for the period 2014-17. They are repeating their mistakes. It is this extension which NEASA is once again opposing,’ Papenfus said.

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Sya van der Walt-Potgieter
Media Liaison

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