Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

On Friday, trade union Solidarity will ask the labour court to place the metal and engineering industries bargaining council under administration, in a bid to save it from bankruptcy.

This is due to an ongoing financial crisis affecting the bargaining council over the past few of years, as well as the inability of parties in the council to come to an agreement on a number of issues. About 340,000 employees and 10,000 companies fall under the bargaining council.

"Urgent steps have to be taken to improve the bargaining council’s financial position to ensure its future," Marius Croucamp, deputy general secretary at Solidarity, said on Thursday.

He said the bargaining council’s financial position had deteriorated to such an extent that the bargaining council had been unable to perform its dispute resolution function for some time.

Solidarity will request that an administrator be appointed to enable to bargaining council to become solvent again, and that it’s funds and bank accounts are part of the brief.

Gerhard Papenfus, the CEO of the National Employers Association of SA (Neasa) — which represents smaller metals industries — said last week that the National Union of Metal Workers of SA had orchestrated a protest against what it calls the "all-out assault" by Neasa against centralised bargaining in SA.

This came after Neasa’s recent court successes in setting aside the extension of wage agreements by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant to smaller companies in the bargaining council, on the basis of these failing to meet legal requirements.

Neasa said the council "promoted collusion between primarily big trade unions and big business", and ignored the needs of small-and-medium-sized metals industry businesses.

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