Bargaining: Workers speak out – Just 7 Demands

Lucky Mbongo, a Numsa member at GB Engineering in Germiston believes there are just 7 demands that we must put on engineering's table this year. This will avoid the long shopping list. He spoke to Numsa writer, Peter Thobejane.

I think our demands should be 5 grades, training, health and safety, 5 days family responsibility leave, 10.33% leave enhancement pay, 30 days paid time off for shop stewards, 4 weeks severance pay for each year of service. If we have only these demands, then we will avoid the long shopping list.

Why do you want five grades to be put as one of the demands? We do have a five-grade structure already but the problem is that it is voluntary. So we need to push very hard to ensure that it becomes compulsory and it must take the issue of training into account.

What is the problem with regard to training because we have the Skills Development Act in place? Yes we do, but most companies have decided to ignore it. So if we put this as a demand we must incorporate that agreement and other provisions into our collective bargaining agreement. There must be something on dispute resolution because the SDA is silent in terms of the dispute procedure. Our shop stewards will then be in a position to monitor compliance.

How can we demand health and safety while there is legislation in place? I don't think 50% of employers are complying with that legislation. We need to push employers to agree to that legislation and it must form part of the Annexures in the Main Agreement and internal training should take its course. We also need what is in the motor agreement around protective equipment.

What about other demands? We need 5 days family responsibility leave. We lost it last time. As parents we need this – it must go back to the table. Our leave enhancement pay must be 10.33% not 8.33%. We are moving towards transformation of the industry – we cannot live with a policy that was created during the apartheid era. Before we demanded that we should have 4 weeks severance pay for each year of service.

But the Labour Relations Act and the Engineering Main Agreement say one week per year of service. How do we move out of that?

We must demand it again, it must go back to the table.

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