The table has been set for the 2019 round of wage and substantive negotiations for the retail motor industry, under the auspices of the Motor Industry Bargaining Council (MIBCO).
The two trade unions and three employer bodies were given the opportunity to exchange bargaining proposals (or demands as the trade unions refer to it) on 27 April. The RMI has indeed received the trade unions’ demands and conducted extensive mandating roadshows throughout the various regional main centres during the first two weeks of May 2019.
These roadshows were well attended, and members actively participated in the development of a consolidated RMI/ business mandate, which will form the basis from which the core negotiating team will engage with the trade unions at the first of three negotiation sessions on 22 and 23 May. The second session took place on the 5 and 6 of June and the date for the third session is still to be determined.
The parties to negotiations are hard-pressed to conclude and sign a new three-year MIBCO Main Agreement before the end of June in order to ensure that sufficient time is afforded to the Minister of Labour to publish and extend the agreement to non-parties. The current Main Agreement, and for that matter the Administrative Agreement too, expires on 31 August 2019. The RMI and its negotiating partners appreciate the urgency with which a new agreement needs to be concluded. This will be no easy task, considering the large number of trade union demands, ranging from (to mention a few) a 15% across-the-board wage increase, to a R5,000 per month housing allowance, a 20% shift allowance for all employees, and a 20% increase in non-wage cash components like stand-by and call-out allowances.
In the absence of published and extended Main and Administrative Agreements by 1 September 2019, MIBCO risks serious challenges in relation to the continued collection of MIBCO levies, trade union subscription fees, Sick-, Accident- and Maternity-Pay Fund (SAF) contributions, additional holiday pay, and the like – all of which are collected in terms of the Administrative Agreement. This will have an adverse impact both on MIBCO, as well as the various social security funds in the industry.
We urge our negotiation partners to share the urgency, earnestness and good faith with which we are approaching this process. We believe a positive outcome will ensure the sustainability and profitability of the industry, as well as aid the creation of much-needed jobs and the alleviation of poverty in our country as a whole.