Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  14 Jun 2010

BUILDING: Cape Builders, Labour Negotiating


Recent Western Cape Business News

Key building industry associations and unions have entered into negotiations to secure a collective industry agreement, aimed at ensuring that key labour criteria are agreed on. The current Collective Agreement, which was secured early 2007 expires at the end of October this year, having played a pivotal role in helping to secure industry stability over the last three years.

The Collective Agreement will contain all conditions of employment that pertain to workers in the building industry in the Cape Peninsula and Boland Areas, including Paarl, Wellington, Somerset West, Strand, Stellenbosch, Darling and Malmesbury. The conditions of employment include minimum wages and contributions to the retirement, medical aid and sick payment funds as well as hours of work, overtime payment, leave pay, public holidays and even bonuses. “Key to this agreement will be issue of minimum wages and benefits, two issues that are always top priority,” said Henry Strydom, Secretary for Building Industry Bargaining Council (Cape of Good Hope).

Employers and employees in the Peninsula and Boland areas are represented by the Master Builders’ and Allied Trades Association Western Cape; Boland Master Builders’ and Allied Trades Association; Building Workers’ Union; Building, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union of South Africa; National Union of Mineworkers and the Building Construction and Allied Workers’ Union.

Negotiations will take place at the Building Industry Bargaining Council and tend to be amicable. “We are proud that the last major strike over wages was over twenty years ago in 1986,” added Strydom. Strydom attributes the success of the process to the fact that both the union and employer parties are properly representative of the whole industry in the Bargaining Council’s area of jurisdiction. Added to this is that the Department of Labour has issued the Bargaining Council with a Certificate of Representativeness, which, in turn, means that the Minister of Labour has no alternative but to extend the provisions of the Collective Agreement to all persons, employers and workers, engaged in the building industry.

In cases where an industry does not have a Certificate of Representativeness, such industries have to rely on the Minister of Labour’s discretion as to whether the Collective Agreement is to be extended to so-called non-parties, which include employers and employees who are not members of the parties represented “The problem where a Collective Agreement is not extended to non-parties is that not all employers compete on a level playing field when it comes to tenders, as non-parties can quote lower prices based on lower wages and benefits for their employees,” explained Strydom.

It is hoped that the negotiations will be concluded soon and that the new Collective Agreement will become applicable on 1 November 2010 when the present agreement expires”, concluded Strydom.

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