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Update: MIBCO wage and substantive negotiations for 2019

The parties to MIBCO resumed the negotiation process aimed at securing a new Main Agreement for the next three years, on 13 August 2019.

As was to be expected, the fourth session yielded some progress in that NUMSA revised its original wage proposals from 12% across the board, on actual wages for all businesses, to a request that the wage deal for the past three years (2016 – 2019), be replicated for the ensuing three years. In effect, this means that NUMSA is seeking the following increases :

Component Manufacturers registered under Chapter III :

Year 1 : 8.5%                       Year 2 : 8%                          Year 3 : 7.5%      

Rest of Industry (excluding the fuel retail industry) :

Year 1 : 7%                          Year 2 : 7%                          Year 3 : 7%         

Fuel Retail Industry registered under Sector 5 :

Details to be released under separate cover, in due course.

Apart from the unrealistically high wage increase percentages proposed, the revised NUMSA “package deal” however, still contains a vast number of proposals that are in direct conflict with most of the RMI’s core values and principles, such as the maintenance of the current wage model and the retention of the peace clause.

The RMI and other employer bodies jointly tabled what it deems to be an appropriate “package proposal”, aligned to its core business principles and values, such as business sustainability, affordability and the retention of jobs / job creation. This proposal involves an increase in wages for employees within the threshold of MIBCO, at a rate of 5% for each year, for the next three years, based on the existing wage model. All non-wage cash components will be increased by the corresponding percentages for each of the three years. This proposal was rejected by NUMSA and no further progress was achieved on the day.

The parties will confirm the resumption of the process and plan to reconvene on 29 and 30 August 2019, when the parties will continue to explore the most appropriate terms for a new wage- and substantive agreement for the next three years. Negotiations are therefore on-going at this stage.

There have been media reports that NUMSA has declared a dispute with the RMI and other employer bodies, however we can assure our members that, as at time of sending this update, NO dispute has been declared by any of the parties. The parties remain committed to a negotiated outcome to the process.

Sector 5 (fuel retail) negotiations, propagated by a unified employer team comprising the RMI / SAPRA, the FRA and NEASA, is taking place in parallel to the negotiations for the rest of the Industry and substantial progress was achieved on a number of process issues. The sector 5 employer team has however agreed amongst itself to issue a consilidated update report on 14 August 2019, detailing progress and key issues under consideration.

The parties will continue with bilateral engagements in the meantime, in aid of further narrowing the issues and the substantive gap between what the employers consider an appropriate agreement, and what the trade unions have proposed. The RMI will continue to keep its valued Members updated on progress in this regard.