NBC Debate: Labour brokers

A cry for salaried staff!Jenny Grice

“Employers must not talk about 50% + 1. It must be scrapped. Staff people will always say, “˜We are contributing more than hourly paid workers, but there are no negotiations, we are just given wages in terms of a scorecard. If the manager likes you he gives you 5%, if he doesn’t like you, you get nothing!’

Labour brokersFrancois Quarrie

Bargaining representatives in the engineering sector came to NBC 2007 to kill the beast but had to settle for one head of this capitalist beast and debated intelligently on the issue of the labour broker. What emerged from the debate was that the temporary employment agency and the existing labour brokers were two different entities and that the debate needs to be concluded at Nedlac so that the minister of labour be given the honour of striking the final blow.

This was how delegates in the engineering commission represented the plight of salaried staff.

Thulani Mthiyane, engineering sector coordinator explained that this had been a demand of other trade unions in previous negotiations but employers had thrown it out saying “the trade unions did not have 50% +1″.

But there is “nothing like that in the LRA,” said Jacob Xilongo from Ekurhuleni. “The Act only talks of sufficient representation.”

Delegates agreed to take it back to the bargaining table. “And if employers come back and say we are not sufficiently representative, we will go on strike,” said Abes Mathibela, Mpumalanga regional organizer.

Salaried staff – be warned – if you don’t get more of your colleagues to sign up this year and show what you are made of, you can forget about your employers acceding to your demand!

…In the auto and tyre commission

The core demands through auto eyesKaya ka Yoko

Wages was the subject that began the discussions. Regions agreed on closing the wage gap and a 15% increase over three years.While that was the demand for workers’ wages, Numsa will also demand details of chief executives pay by using section 16 of the Labour Relations Act and the provision of EEA section 42.

What they said:

“At factory level we are not as strong as we are supposed to be. Most of the things we need to fight for are at factory level.” Phil Bokaba, Hlanganani chairperson

There was no debate on the length of agreement – 3 years was the agreed demand as per the NBF agreement. The benchmark should be skill level 7. It was agreed that we need to define the start and end of the week so that any time that falls outside a week can be paid accordingly.

Labour brokers were kicked out through the window but where this is not possible, the principal employer must pay the workers the same benefits. After three months temporary workers must be employed permanently.

”In the past we were like gentlemen sitting around the table. This time the ball game has changed. Government has put R400bn for infrastructure; there is 2010 for the engineering sector. We are justified in making these (wage) claims.” Joeey Maake, Sedibeng regional organiser

All regions sang one song that in terms of lay offs and short time employers must make their pockets dirty by paying workers for a full eight hours.

Family responsibility and childcare should be three days leave. Sleeping at work even if there are no beds deserves a 20% night shift allowance and 15% for afternoon shift and shift workers should be provided with a 100% transport subsidy.

Traditionally the loss of a loved one is not usual and death is the end. This deserves seven days leave.

From The Numsa Youth! The youth – what’s on their minds?Young faces are scattered amongst the NBC delegates. Numsa News writer, Kaya ka Yoko, spoke to Kgaugelo Madiba (KM) and Tebogo Bozo (TB) about their views of the NBC and this year’s bargaining round.

What is your observation of the NBC since day one?KM This is my first time to attend NBC. The level of engagement was very high and I was impressed as I was acquiring experience. The explanation made by second deputy president Cde Cedric Gina and general secretary Silumko Nondwangu on the theme and the overview of the NBC made me happy.

I was with you in the auto and tyre sector commission, you kept quiet as you did on the first day, why?KM I was part of the regional policy workshop and therefore Cde Menchi Motsepe, Hlanganani regional secretary touched all the points that were consolidated at the regional level. I was exposed to discussions of that nature for the first time.

What is your expectation of this NBC?KM I think that when it comes to cross-cutting demands the sectors will not have significant differences except for issues such as the period of agreement and wage model because some regions believe that we need to move away from CPIX.

What about demands for 2007?”I hope the employers will meet our demands without wasting time. R2500 will be enough as an increase this year.” Joyce Moyaung, motor shop steward Mpumalanga.

“Training should be a priority. We need to be very strategic when putting our demands to the employers so that they represent our theme.” Gabriel Kheswa, Ekurhuleni regional finance committee and engineering shop steward.

The demands are no different from those that we have placed in the past. We need to apply more pressure on training issues.” Kaya ka Yoko, VW shop steward in the Eastern Cape and a Numsa writer.

Some believe that we need to justify the move away from it. It is clear that for the past ten years workers lost the potential wage increase as a result of this CPIX.

You are young, where do you see yourself in the organization?KM It is very important for young workers to be part of the labor movement as that assists us to oppose exploitation by employers. Leaders in the organization leave, youngsters are the future of the organization.

How long have you attended these NBCs?TB This is my first time. I was fortunate because I’m eight months old in the organization but I got a chance to be here.

How do you feel?TB I feel great, excited and inspired. I’m interacting with officials not seeing them on TV or listening to them on radio but getting experience to assist those at the plant level.

What are your expectations of this conference?TB Half of the work of making sure workers’ lives are made better through the NBC has been done; the other half lies with membership supporting the call from the leadership.Madiba is a Nissan shop steward in Hlanganani region. Bogo is a motor shop steward in N Cape.