The Department of Employment and Labour has begun the process of reviewing the Motor Industry Bargaining Council (MIBCO) Main Collective Agreement for consideration by the Minister before it is extended to non-parties before it is gazetted.
This was revealed by the department after an agreement on wages expired on 31 August 2019.
Since then, the MIBCO has concluded a wage settlement agreement between the Fuel Retailers Association (FRA), the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) and the National Union of Metalworkers Trade Union of South Africa (NUMSA), signed on 13 December 2019.
The conclusion of a collective agreement is a process determined by parties to that collective agreement in the bargaining council.
“The only thing that the law allows is for the Minister to extend the concluded collective agreement to the non-parties if such an agreement meets the requirements of the law,” said the department in a statement on Monday.
MIBCO submitted a request to the Minister of Employment and Labour to extend its Main Collective to non-parties on 4 March 2020.
The department said the resolution submitted by the Council to request the Minister to extend the collective agreement was that of the Adhoc Advisory Committee which is contrary to the Council’s constitution.
“The Council was informed that the decision to request the Minister to extend the Main Collective Agreement to non-parties should be a decision of the Council and be taken at the meeting of the Council,” read the statement.
At the time of submission of the request to the Minister, there was no Council since the Annual General Meeting did not proceed on 29 November 2019. This was due to a dispute between the parties on the allocation of seats.
It was suggested to the Council to rectify the problem and thereafter submit a fresh request to the Minister to extend the collective agreement to non-parties.
The collective agreement was concluded by three parties to the Council which binds the same parties in terms of section 23(1).
“It must be noted that issues relating to the reasons why the agreement could not [be] processed for extension to non-parties were raised with the Council by the office and a meeting was scheduled between the Council and the officials of the department on 31 March 2020 and was subsequently postponed due to [the] national lockdown.
“There were subsequently several meetings between the Council and Department of Employment and Labour in which this office tried to mediate between parties so that the running of the Council is not affected by internal squabbles between the parties,” said the department.
Parties were advised that even if they do not agree on some or all issues, that should not impede the running and governance of the bargaining council as an entity.
In this case, the department said parties’ squabbles were allowed to impede the day to day running of the bargaining council, which resulted to the Council not being able to hold Council meetings in terms of its constitution, which will enable them to take resolutions which will be lawful for the Minister to extend the Main Collective Agreement to non-parties.
The bargaining council was only able to hold its Annual General Meeting in terms of its constitution on 26 November 2020 after their dispute was resolved by arbitration and they were able to adopt a resolution to request the Minister to extend its collective agreement to non-parties.
The collective agreement was submitted to the department on 5 January 2021 for comments.
The collective agreement was scrutinised and found not to be complying with the law since it contained retrospective clauses which the Minister cannot extend to non-parties.
The corrected and signed collective agreement was finally submitted on 9 February 2021 of which it is still in progress and it has not reached the Minister’s desks for his decision to extend it to non-parties before it can be published in the Government Gazette.