NUMSA Declaration of the
National Bargaining Conference, 2005
We, the 200 delegates of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) representing over 200 000 members across the length and breadth of our country, gather in this historic occasion of the 2005 National Bargaining Conference to recommit ourselves to the bargaining obligations that maintain the working class agenda . We remain proud of our history and the strength of our regions.
The NBC is taking place against the background of serious onslaught from steel and engineering employers to derail NUMSA. There has been an unprecedented attack on NUMSA over the issues of centralised bargaining, wages and other important benefits. Despite the institutional arrangements we have built to make centralized bargaining strong and effective employers continue to undermine the institutional arrangements by wanting to negotiate at plant level. Decentralization of the bargaining process effectively weakens the union and drains the existing resources. It exposes unequal wages disparities. It demobilizes the workers and splits the union. It makes workers vulnerable and instills an exploitative environment. We must vehemently reject the attempt to localize and provincialise collective bargaining. The NBC also takes place on the eve of major COSATU campaigns on recruitment and job losses in the manufacturing sectors of the economy, particularly in the mining and textile sectors. NUMSA will join a chorus of unions for socio-economic strike in the private sector.
Furthermore, we recognise the challenges of the economic and social contexts against which we convene the NBC. We recognise that the democratic dispensation, which impacts on the role of the state, presents new challenges in the harsh global environment. Unemployment forever remains the fundamental challenge. However, the government in response to this problem has announced additional funding for its Expanded Public Works Programme hoping to create 1 million jobs in 5 years. Trade liberalisation as a cornerstone of macro-economic policy has tremendously contributed to continuing job losses.NUMSA will continue to campaign vigorously for alternative macro-economic strategy and effective industrial strategy that will deliver on jobs. Many industries have declined dramatically since the introduction of trade liberalisation. EPZs, in particular the envisaged Coega Project, pose a serious threat to labour standards and we doubt very much whether sufficient sustainable jobs will be created. While new technological advances promise potential benefits, there is an inherent tendency towards increased job losses and redundancy.
We note that that there has been a consistent effort on the part of businesses to influence and change the current labour regime by insisting on a deregulated market system that will undermine hard-won labour rights. The existence of labour brokers further undermines the provision of crucial benefits to workers. The purchasing power of the workers has diminished to unacceptable levels as results of increases in the commodity prices. Expected dramatic increases in the price of petrol will further exarcebate the plight of the workers. The union further notes the existing dispute on the distribution of pension/provident surplus.
Workers’ wages have suffered as a result of inflationary pressures. Inflation targeting has been a serious impediment to sustainable social wages. In this year’s round of wage negotiations, bargaining will be very tough because of the rising economic standards and the grave threat posed to the unions by the insistence of SEIFSA to move towards decentralised bargaining. What is most worrying, is the brutal attack on workers jobs as a result of the appreciation of the rand.
We believe that the NBC presents a historic opportunity to reflect on our strengths and challenges towards the 2005 wage negotiations. We note that there have been serious organisational weaknesses. We reaffirm that the basic function of the trade union movement is to defend workers and improve working conditions in the workplace. This is critical for the long term survival of the labour movement.
As delegates of the 2005 NBC, we therefore resolve that:
The wage formula shall be determined as follows: Increase = CPIX + improvement factor + wage spread.
The wage inncrease shall be 12% .
The wage parameters shall be set at 6 to 10% for the second year.
2. Duration of Agreement
The duration of the agreement shall be two years.
3. Employment Security
Notice pay shall be four weeks.
The severance pay shall be 4 weeks for every completed year of service per worker. Furthermore, the benefits pertaining to this severance pay shall be extended to limited duration contract (LDC) workers. With respect to LDCs, staggered termination should be treated as unbroken service for the purposes of severance pay.
Bargaining representatives are tasked with exploring the issue of the viability of Work Security Funds in more detail.
4. Labour Brokers
To close some of the exisiting gaps in the Main Agreement in particular pertaining to the issue of labour brokers, Section 20 shall be amended as follows:
· Section 20 (c) (ad) – in the event of a dispute over the use of labour brokers, each party reserves the right to embark on industrial action.
· We further insist that the use of labour brokers in direct production processes must be unequivocally outlawed.
Most importantly we declare that in the long-term, NUMSA’s position that the practice of labour brokering be completely outlawed should be deliberated upon at NEDLAC.
5. Training Demands
Training Conference Resolutions must be endorsed.
The work group consisting of NUMSA, MERSETA and Bargaining Council should be revived.
Grades should be linked to NQF levels
7. Outstanding Demands
· 20 Days Leave Pay – Gradually increase to 20 days.
8. Lay offs
Extend Auto arrangement to Engineering
We remain committed to the Code of Good Practice. We must ensure that employers adhere to it.
10. Shift Allowance
Increase in afternoon allowance to 10%
11. Integration of house agreement
All house agreement companies must be intergrated into the main agreement as a separate schedule.
Given the challenges that we have listed herein and particularly in this bargaining conference, we resolve and commit ourselves to mobilize our members for the realization of these demands. We shall not allow employers to lower existing labour standards.