On Monday 18 July 2011 an official signing ceremony was held at the head office of the MEIBC during which the Steel Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa and all six of the trade union parties (NUMSA, SOLIDARITY, UASA The Union, CEPPWAWU, MEWUSA and SAEWA) to the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council signed the settlement agreement officially ending the two-week long industry strike. The industry is expected to resume normal production as early as Tuesday 19 July 2011.
The other two employers’ organisations NEASA and FEOSA both decided not to sign the final agreement, despite actively participating in the two and half month long negotiations.
The refusal of these two parties to sign the agreement does not impact on the settlement agreement and will not materially affect the representivity of the council. The council has therefore resolved to proceed with an application to the Minister of Labour to have the agreement extended to all non-parties in the industry.
The three-year wage deal makes provision for increases of 8% for artisans in the highest Rate A to 10% for workers in the lowest grade H, with effect from 1 July 2011 for year one. The agreement also contemplates a curtailment in the usage of labour broking services in the industry.
The wages for years 2012 and 2013 will be increased by between 7% and 8% for each year on the proviso that, if the CPI (April figure published in May) is above 8%, the actual wage adjustment will be CPI plus 2% in years two and three.
In his conclusion of the negotiations, MEIBC CEO, Alistair Smith acknowledged that “this was one of the toughest negotiations for some time.”
He conveyed his deep regret that the industrial action was marked by intense conflict, the loss of life and injuries and damage to property.
He added: “I express hope that we all take on board the lessons learned from this process. I also look forward to working together with all parties to restore normality at the shop floor, to rebuild relationships, which will position us to deal with the fundamental challenges of growth and employment faced by our industry.”