A wage dispute that NUMSA declared with the employers on 30 August 2019, was subject to conciliation under the auspices of the Commission of Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration on 30 September 2019.
During conciliation, NUMSA abandoned its position on most of the issues raised in its original list of bargaining proposals/demands, including invalidating the Peace Clause, which prohibits plant-level bargaining, and tabled a proposal requesting 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.
This is basically the same proposal tabled by NUMSA on 13 August 2019, which it withdrew the following day.
Apart from the unrealistically high wage increase percentages proposed, the revised NUMSA ‘package deal’ still contains a number of proposals that are in direct conflict with most of the RMI’s mandate, such as the introduction of night shift- and transport allowances, higher overtime rates for Chapters II and III, and the effective scrapping of the short time provisions in the Main Agreement.
The RMI negotiating team is reviewing its current wage offer of 5% based on the current wage model, for each of the three ensuing years, and will make a counter proposal at the next session of conciliation, which the parties agreed would be on 11 October 2019.
Negotiations are therefore ongoing, despite media reports to the contrary.
The RMI will continue to keep its valued members updated on developments, and would caution against distress about the lack of progress. We remain buoyant about the likelihood of a settlement between the parties in due course.