Johannesburg - Three sessions of negotiations between South Africa’s vehicle manufacturers and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) have failed to achieve agreement on any of the union’s demands.

Stephen Nhlapo, Nums’s chief negotiator, confirmed on Friday that the union had not yet concluded any agreements at the National Bargaining Forum on any issues with the Automobile Manufacturers Employers Organisation (Ameo).

“We are still far apart. There are movements somewhere. The employers have asked to go back to their principals to get a (fresh) mandate and we have agreed to have a last (negotiation) meeting in the coming weeks,” he said.

Numsa’s demands include a one-year rather than a three-year agreement, a 20 percent wage increase, R5000-a-month housing allowance and medical aid benefits to be paid on the basis of 80 percent by employers and 20 percent by employees. Nhlapo confirmed that the previous three-year agreement with Ameo had expired at the end of June.

Johann Evertse, the chairman of Ameo, declined to comment last week on the status of the negotiations, stressing that Ameo was not prepared to negotiate through the media.

Nhlapo confirmed Ameo had submitted an offer to Numsa, but declined to provide any details about the offer.

He said it would be unfair to disclose these details now and before Numsa’s negotiating team had disclosed to the union’s leadership where they were in the negotiations.

Nhlapo said Numsa’s negotiations with Ameo also included discussions on the union’s demand for a mega bargaining council, comprising the vehicle manufacturers, oil refineries and retail motor industry.

Numsa declared a dispute in these negotiations last month after the RMI refused to commence negotiations over the union’s demands until agreement was reached on core structural issues of concern to the RMI, which were Numsa’s demand for a mega bargaining council and a one-year rather than a three-year agreement.

A dispute meeting failure to resolve the deadlock and the parties will enter into mediation next month by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

Almost nine weeks of back-to-back strikes in 2013 by various sectors in the motor industry and automotive value chain resulted in the loss of production of 58 000 vehicles worth a total of about R11.6 billion.

Business Report