File picture: Thomas Peter

Johannesburg - Prospects of the new vehicle manufacturing sector avoiding disruption caused by strikes in allied sectors has been boosted by a three-year agreement being concluded by the new tyre industry and progress being made in negotiations on a new agreement for the retail motor industry.

The Automobile Manufacturers Employers’ Organisation (Ameo) and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) successfully concluded negotiations for a new three-year wage agreement early last month without any disruption to production.

Ameo and Numsa agreed on a 10 percent wage increase in the first year of the agreement and an 8 percent wage hike in each of the following two years.

Negotiations have been continuing between Numsa and the new tyre and retail motor industries, with Numsa in July declaring a dispute and deadlock in the wage negotiations with the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) at the Motor Industry Bargaining Council (Mibco).

RMI’s chief executive, Jakkie Olivier, said on Friday that negotiations with Numsa were at a sensitive stage but negotiations in the week had reduced Numsa’s outstanding demands to only a few issues. “We think a settlement is a real possibility,” he said.

Olivier said the RMI and Numsa needed to get a new mandate from its members on one or two issues and the parties would reconvene again early this week.

He confirmed issues on which agreement still had to be reached included the rate of pay, the pay threshold for inclusion in any agreement reached at Mibco and on participating with research to be conducted during the period of the new agreement about the alignment of negotiations for the retail and vehicle manufacturing sectors, particularly for the automotive component sector.

Mark Roberts, the convener of the Chapter 111 sector at Mibco, said the council was finalising its position on the rate of pay, although agreement needed to be obtained on whether the wage hikes were on minimums or actual rates of pay. He said the council also needed to get a mandate on Numsa’s demand for research about industry alignment for the component sector.

But Roberts said agreement was “very close”, and it looked likely a settlement could be reached without a strike.

Nobuzwe Mangcu, the managing executive of the SA Tyre Manufacturing Conference, confirmed that negotiations had been successfully concluded with Numsa on a three-year agreement for the new tyre manufacturing industry.

Three-year deal

Mangcu said in terms of the agreement, workers would receive an 8.5 percent wage increase in the first year of the agreement and an increase of 8 percent for each of the following two years.

“The agreement provides the industry with a degree of certainty for the next three years and as such, acts as a platform for longer-term planning for the tyre industry,” Mangcu said.

She said new tyre manufacturers were pleased negotiations could be finalised without disruptions to production, which represented a significant milestone because it was the second consecutive period that disruption to the industry had been avoided during negotiations.

She also praised the role of the facilitator from the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration during the negotiations to safeguard and guarantee procedural fairness.