The parties to MIBCO resumed the negotiation process aimed at securing a new Main Agreement for the next three years on 29 August 2019.
At the end of the fifth session on 30 August 2019, NUMSA declared a dispute with the three employer parties to the Council, being the RMI, NEASA and the FRA. At the heart of the dispute are wage increases and the retention of the Peace Clause.
The RMI’s offer of 5% wage increases for each year for the following three years (i.e. 2019 – 2022), was rejected by NUMSA, who demanded a 10% increase in wages, across the board. The RMI’s wage offer is informed by the consumer price index, which was recorded at 4% for the month of July 2019.
NUMSA is also insisting on the effective scrapping of the Peace Clause which, if agreed to, would mean that employees can strike despite any agreement reached between the trade unions and employers. The retention of the Peace Clause in the current form is a key to labour peace, and the viability and sustainability of businesses in the industry, and therefor deemed to be a “non-negotiable” by the RMI.
Details regarding progress with negotiations in Sector 5 (fuel retail businesses) will be released under separate cover.
In terms of the MIBCO Constitution, a dispute meeting between the parties must be held within 14 days of the dispute being declared. This dispute meeting has been scheduled for 09 September 2019. If the dispute between the parties is not resolved at this meeting, mediation must be scheduled within 10 days of the dispute meeting.
The RMI negotiating teams has been informed of a number of rumours doing the rounds in the industry that NUMSA members are about to embark on strike action. The RMI assures its members that no lawful/protected strike can take place before the dispute resolution procedure mentioned above, together with a secret strike ballot and an agreement to picketting rules, have been finalised. Rumours of this nature must be viewed as “fake news”. The parties will continue to explore the most appropriate terms for a new wage and substantive agreement for the next three years at the dispute meeting on 09 September 2019. Negotiations are therefore on-going at this stage.
The parties will continue with bilateral engagements in the meantime, in aid of further narrowing the substantive gap between what the employers consider an appropriate agreement, and what NUMSA has proposed. The RMI will continue to keep its valued members updated on progress in this regard