Engineering: A march is on the table!

A march is on the table!

Numsa and other trade unions in the engineering sector are polishing their marching boots after employers put a “disappointing” offer of 4,3% on the table in talks between engineering employers and trade unions at the end of May. Numsa members will join the Cosatu jobs march on June 27 and hand a memorandum to Seifsa, the department of labour and to other employer organisatoins.

Numsa News spoke to engineering sector coordinator, Thulani Mthiyane, to find out where the union is in the negotiations process.

When did the trade unions declare a dispute?Towards the end of May.

Where are we now in the process?In terms of the dispute procedure of the Metal and Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC), there are four different options that the parties can decide on once a dispute is declared.

One is to refer the dispute to arbitration, two is to refer it to conciliation, three is to ask the CEO of the MEIBC to issue a certificate saying that the dispute is unresolved and that parties can now take action and four is to refer the matter to a sub-committee.

Which option did the parties decide on?We decided to refer the matter to a sub-committee.

Why?At one stage we were determined to immediately demand a certificate to say that the dispute was unresolved. But the Numsa general secretary, Silumko Nondwangu, persuaded us that we should continue talking in the sub-committee until we found that we could not make any more progress.

What happens when you feel no more progress can be made?The sub-committee will refer the issue to the Management Committee who can decide to issue a certificate.

If a certificate is issued, when is the earliest date that Numsa members can go on strike?We can only go on strike after the MEIBC has issued a certificate and after we have given the MEIBC 48 hours notice of strike action. And we can only strike after the current agreement expires on June 30.

Marches were planned for the beginning of June. Now the date has been changed to join with the Cosatu march on June 27. Why?If we had marched in the first week of June, our marches would have been illegal. This is because the current agreement only expires on June 30. But if we join with the Cosatu march on June 27, we will get protection from the Cosatu march because they have followed all the procedures laid down by Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA).

Is there anything planned before June 27?Workers should find out details from their shop stewards. We are encouraging everyone to hold lunch-time demonstrations in the run up to June 27. Let your employer know how you feel!

Engineering surplus breakthrough

In a change of heart, engineering employers have agreed to start doling out the surplus in the two funds in the engineering retirement funds before the High Court clarifies which legislation should be used to hand it out.

The trustees of the two funds will meet again to work out the details of the allocation of the R11bn surplus.

The draft proposal says that the Funds should:

first pay former members who have left the funds since 1 January 1980 and keep some of the surplus in reserve for those that come later;
distribute the balance of the surplus between the pensioners, active members and employers.

The effect of this would be to:

– increase current members’ benefits by around 45%.

– increase the benefits of those members of the EIPF who are prepared to move to the MIPF by the same percentage.

– increase the benefits of existing pensioners from both funds

– allow employers to use their portion of the surplus to increase the employer contribution rate into the provident fund from 6% to 9% and continue paying 9% once the surplus is exhausted.

Numsa has welcomed the proposal. But it is not happy about the increase in employer contributions being linked to the surplus allocation. It wants employers to “pay the extra 3% now and not wait for the surplus allocation,” says Numsa’s engineering coordinator Thulani Mthiyane.

Mashela izimfuno zakho!Mhla ka-27 kuJuni amalungu eNumsa azohlangana neCosatu bamashele ukuqeda ukulahleka kwemisebenzi, ukulwa nendlala kanye nokungabi bikho komsebenzi kanye namaholo angcono nezimo zokusebenza engxenyeni yezobunjiniyela.

INumsa inezimpikiswano nabaqashi bezobunjiniyela kodwa basazama ukuzixazulula. Kusukela phakathi noJuni, joyina imizabalazo yangesikhathi sesidlo sasemini endaweni yokusebenzela kwezobunjiniyela. Bona incwajana kuleli phephandaba ukuze uthole imininingwane yokuthi abaqashi babanikeza malini abasebenzi kanye nalokho okufunwa yizinyunyana.

Staan op vir jou regte!Numsa-lede gaan op 27 Junie saam met Cosatu-geaffilieerde vakbonde aan “˜n protesoptog deelneem om teen werkverliese, armoede en werkloosheid en vir beter lone en werkomstandighede in die ingenieursektor te betoog. Numsa is in “˜n dispuut met ingenieursbase gewikkel maar probeer nog om “˜n ooreenkoms met hulle te bereik. Van middel-Junie af kan jy jou stem laat hoor by etenstyd-betogings by ingenieurswerkplekke. Sien die pamflet in hierdie koerant vir besonderhede oor wat die werkgewers aanbied en wat die vakbonde eis.

Ha re hwanteng bakeng sa ditseko tsa rona!Ka la 27 Phupjane, ditho tsa Numsa di tla ya mmoho le mekgatlo e ka tlasa Cosatu di hwanta bakeng sa ho qeta ditahlehelo tsa mesebetsi, ho lwantsha bofuma le tlhokeho ya mesebetsi le bakeng sa meputso e ntlafetseng ekasitana le maemo a ntlafetseng a tshebetso mokgeng wa bo-enjinere.

Numsa e na le tsekisano le boramesebetsi ba bo-enjinere empa ba ntse ba leka ho rarolla taba ena le bona. Ho tloha mahareng a Phupjane, kenela boipelaetso ba nako ya lantjhe dibakeng tsa ho sebetsa tsa bo-enjinere. Bona phamfolete koranteng ena bakeng sa dintlha tse mabapi le seo boramesebetsi ba fanang ka sona le hore na diyunione tsona di tseka eng.

4,3% is way too little!Ntokoza Mchunu is a worried woman. A single parent with two children, she clears R2400 at the end of each month from the small engineering business where she works.

She has just heard that Seifsa has offered a wage increase of 4,3%. She is happy that employers have increased their offer from nothing, but not happy that it is only 4,3%.

Ntokoza is meticulous about budgeting and was top of her class in arithmetic at school. But when she works out her budget for the month and when she looks at Seifsa’s offer, something doesn’t add up. She knows that for her to buy the same things that she has bought for the past year, she needs more than a 4,3% increase. Last April, her taxi fare from her Tembisa home to her job in town every day cost her R19 for the return trip. But this year the cost has crept up to R22 per day – that’s a 16% increase on last year’s transport costs. And then there’s her children’s taxi fares to go to school, that have also gone up by way more than 4,3%. She watches the news now to see the oil price and hear what will happen to the petrol price at the beginning of each month. And from what she can see, the chances of her taxi fare going down are as small as the money that is left over at the end of each month.

Then there’s electricity – that R50 prepaid voucher used to last for a month. Now it barely lasts 3 weeks. As for food, well if it wasn’t for offcuts sometimes from the butchery, her daughter would be right in saying that they never eat meat anymore. She used to battle walking home with the food packets but now her packets are light – the same money seems to buy less and less food and porridge for supper seems to be more and more common! Seifsa – are you listening to Ntokoza and the hundreds of thousands of workers that work for you? 4,3% is not enough!