Training tops the agenda

ESTIMATED CPI-X FOR 2005 – between 4% and 5%

Looking forward!

We had a long and hard 2004 within our boundaries and companies that we serve as Numsa. This is a fresh new year 2005, which means new ideas, strategy, planning etc. We as Numsa need to decide what will be happening in the industry this year. Just remember this is our year for negotiations (in engineering).

To become successful in all that we do and decide, we need to focus on major issues, for instance: skills development within the workplace, basic conditions of employment and not forget our labour relations conditions.

These things I feel make comrades more effective and positive in their workplace. We need to focus as well on companies who operate outside the boundaries of what the law recommends, involve the bodies that must uphold these laws of our country.

Comrades don’t forget we need to be more open-minded when it comes to issues like this. We need to support each other in this industry. Most of all it all starts in your workplace. You are Numsa and you have to decide the way forward, support your shop stewards where you can, just remember they are a very important link between the workshop and management, so be actively involved this year to make this happen for you.

Leslie SkermandShop steward, Duferco SteelSaldanha , Western Cape

Another round of labour law amendments?Dinga Sikwebu

It looks as if workers should brace themselves every four or five years for a fight to defend their hard-won rights. Like he did when he opened parliament in 2001, President Thabo Mbeki announced in this year’s state of the nation address that government will review regulations that apply to small, medium and micro-enterprises.

“Before the end of the year, government will complete the system of exemptions for these businesses with regard to taxes, levies, as well as central bargaining and other labour arrangements, enabling these to be factored into the medium-term expenditure cycle”, said the president.

As expected Cosatu was the first organisation to respond. In a press statement issued after the president’s address, the federation stated that “the notion that labour regulation is an impediment to small business development is incorrect and rests on questionable theoretical and empirical evidence. The labour laws already have mechanisms to exempt small businesses from bargaining agreements… Studies conducted by the Department of Labour show that these exemptions are granted generously by bargaining councils”.

Cosatu went on to argue how further exemptions will undermine the country’s bargaining system. The federation feels that the proposed exemptions will be nothing else but government buckling to business’ lobby to open large sections of the economy for unregulated practices. According to Cosatu the planned government move “could also fuel business unbundling and out-sourcing” as companies scramble for exemptions.

In its first 2005 meeting held on February 14-16, the central executive committee (CEC) adopted a programme to brief and mobilise Cosatu members against the proposed exemptions. The CEC was also angry that President Mbeki chose an employers’ concern and made no reference to large scale casualisation in the country.

The CEC was equally incensed by the fact that the issue of exemptions was not raised in Nedlac nor in the Tripartite Alliance. Cosatu also said that the organisation “will not hesitate to approach the Constitutional Court to protect its members should the need arise”.