Parties to mull employer lock-out

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LabourCrossing Reuters.

Johannesburg - A meeting to resolve the lock-out by some employers in the metal sector is scheduled for this week, the National Employers' Association of SA (Neasa) said on Wednesday.

“All stakeholders are expected to attend the meeting on Friday,” said spokeswoman Sya van der Walt-Potgieter.

She said it was expected that a wage settlement agreement signed to end the strike in the sector would be extended to them.

Neasa has refused to sign the recent wage settlement agreement reached between the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA (Seifsa), the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), and five other unions.

At the time of the signing of the settlement, Seifsa said it signed on behalf of the 24 federated associations and confirmed that two associations were still involved in internal mandating processes.

It said the Border Industries Employers Association (BIEA) representative was not present at the meeting, and Neasa did not sign the settlement agreement.

“The Bargaining Council will, in the next two weeks, convene a management committee meeting to ratify the settlement agreement, confirm the position of the two outstanding Seifsa associations, and adopt a resolution to have the agreement extended to all non-party employers and employees in the industry,” Seifsa said.

Neasa announced that its members would lock out union members who participated in the strike because its demands had not been considered during the recent industry negotiations.

It wanted a standardised entry level wage and a revamped exemptions policy.

It has offered an eight percent across the board salary increase.

Van der Walt-Potgieter said Neasa represented 3000 members in the metal industry alone.

The majority of them were small and medium enterprises that together employed about 70,000 workers.

“About 40 percent of our members have confirmed they are engaged in the lock-out.”

She said if the settlement was extended to them they would approach the Labour Court.

“Three years ago the settlement was extended to us and the Labour Court set aside that decision.”

She said Neasa was appalled by claims by Numsa suggesting that Naesa was fabricating the fact that the union launched an urgent application in the Labour Court and then, during court proceedings, withdrew the application.

“The urgent application was aimed at declaring Neasa's lock-out of union workers who participated in the recent metal industry strike illegal,” she said.

According to the Labour Court roll the matter was scheduled to be heard on Tuesday on an urgent basis.

Numsa spokesman Castro Ngobese said the union would issue a statement to clarify its stance.

“We will clarify our position at an appropriate time. We do not want to be dictated to by Neasa,” he said, adding that the union was focusing on its international symposium of left parties/movements.

The symposium was expected to start on Thursday in Benoni. - Sapa



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