The start of a new decade

I wish all of our valued members, industry stakeholders and staff the very best for 2020. We are positive and excited about the start of this year and the new stories we will be sharing with you through Automobil.
As mentioned in the last edition, we have launched the new RMI and associational logos and merged 13 associations into eight. Each of the logos has been simplified and modernised, whilst still retaining its unique essence and rich heritage.
This change has also prompted us to re-look how Automobil is managed in 2020 and we felt it made sense, in line with the general trend in printed media worldwide, to reduce the publication of our magazine from monthly to every second month. We will focus on six excellent issues which will each enjoy a two-month shelf life, commencing with this edition.
The magazine remains an important and valued source of information for the industry. During the next few months we will be carrying out some further research to ensure both our content, and the platform on which it is presented, remains relevant, appropriate and in line with changing media trends and the growth in digital news. We will be contacting readers and would appreciate your input in this regard.
We will continue to share weekly news in our RMI web letter. We will also continue producing a digital version of the magazine which can be easily downloaded from our website. This is an easy and quick way to access Automobil.
We are living in changing and dynamic times with artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation being applied to create ingenious innovations and speeding up the evolution of industries. The retail motor environment is no exception. We will need to keep abreast of this fast-moving transformation, especially around customer care and after-sales service issues.
A priority of the RMI will be to ensure we ready our members for these changes through awareness, education, and skills development. I have no doubt our objectives and actions this year will influence not only the automotive industry, but generations to come. A new-look automotive industry is no longer a dream. It is happening and it is happening at a rapid rate. How our members and business owners think about their future in the industry, how they prepare for the change and most importantly how they meet the ever increasing demands of consumers will largely be influenced by our actions and aspirations at the beginning of this new decade.
We all are faced with concerning external challenges over which we have little or no control. An ongoing low growth economy and performance with the threat of a downgrade to junk status by Moody’s and other rating agencies; pressure from load shedding and Eskom’s inability to provide sustainable power for businesses and industry to produce and deliver products and services coupled with a lack of appropriate skills and leadership to save our country from a total collapse will colour our business landscape this year. A collective effort, effective co-operation and collaborative relationships amongst all key stakeholders are therefore fundamental as we enter the year 2020.
We hope you enjoy our latest edition. The focus of this edition is on one of our newly-merged associations, the Automotive Remanufacturers’ Association (ARA). ARA represents the remanufacturing trade sector. ARA promotes the responsible reuse of remanufactured engine components for a ‘greener’ environment (carbon footprint). Its members are dedicated to providing consumers with only the best advice, finest service delivery, and highest quality workmanship.
The RMI and its various associations and structures remain committed to making a difference in the lives of business owners and the economy going forward. Our hope is that 2020 be the beginning of great and lasting outcomes in the automotive industry – outcomes we can all be proud of in time to come.

2019 MIBCO wage negotiations

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 will take place on 5 and 6 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.