UNION AFFAIRS COLLECTIVE BARGAINING REPORT

  1. PULP & PAPER STRIKE

UNION AFFAIRS

  1. PULP & PAPER STRIKE

The Pulp & Paper Sector strike was the biggest in CEPPWAWU in 2020. Negotiation were led by the President and the Chief Negotiator, comrade Sakhile Zako. There was 6000 workers out on strike after deadlocking during annual wage negotiations in the Pulp and Paper Chamber in September 2020. The strike commenced on the 5th of October 2020. By mid-October 2020 the strike was losing momentum and workers were returning to work. The last company to continue with the Pulp and Paper strike was Mondi in Richard Bay and Merebank in Durban. The strike lasted until on the 3rd November 2020 with an agreement of 4.55% across the board with effect from 1st July 2020 and R2000.00 bonus. By the 26th November 2020, the company has charged and suspended seven members of the union and are facing disciplinary hearings related to the strike.

  • TWINSAVER

Twinsaver is a company organized nationally and wage negotiations reached a deadlock and workers balloted for a strike. Before members embarked on a national strike, parties reached an agreement of 5% increase across the board.

  • TAURUS PACKAGING

Taurus Packaging is a regional company with 240 workers based in the KZN region. Workers balloted for a protect wage strike and the strike commenced on the 10th November, 2020. On the 17th of November parties settled on a 7% increase across the board.

  • CEPPWAWU DELEGATED ATTENDED COSATU COLLECTIVE BARGAINING CONFERENCE

COSATU held a Collective Bargaining Conference from the 11 – 12 November 2020. The Conference is a result of the 13th National Congress resolution held on the 17th – 20th September 2018. The theme of the Conference was: “The Future of Collective Bargaining: In Defence of Jobs and Wages.”

The Conference was held virtually and the 281 participants included local trade union federations, continental and international federations. CEPPWAWU had 9 delegates who attended the virtual conference. The first day was marked by messages of support from fraternal organisations.

The second-day delegates broke into their respective Commission for the whole day. The 5 Commissions were allocated the following topics:

Commission 1:  The impact of the Labour Market restructuring on workers including vulnerable workers.

Commission 2: Building the organisational capacity of COSATU and affiliates to bargain and organise effectively.

Commission 3: The meaning of the Future of Work and 4th Industrial Revolution and their impact on bargaining, jobs and wages.

Commission 4: Drawing from the lessons and experiences of the National Minimum Wage to build a Living Wage Campaign and advance the decent work agenda.

Commission 5: Political and Economic landscape on which collective bargaining is exercised: pension, health and safety and the impact of COVID 19 on workers and the poor.

On the third day recommendations from the Commissions resulted into the conference resolutions. The Conference ended in adopting a Declaration. The resolutions and their implementations strategy will be discussed at the COSATU Central Executive Committee.

CURRENT ISSUES FACED BY CEPPWAWU IN MAJOR COMPANIES

ENGEN RESTRUCTURING CALLED REPURPOSE

Engen company issued an internal communication referred to as ENREF Repurpose on the 1st October 2020. It stated that despite its initiatives in many operations, the ENREF net margin contribution continues to deteriorate. The company is facing competition regarding the CF2 quality regulation in South Africa. The company requested inputs from stakeholders by the 31st of October 2020. CEPPWAWU requested an extension of the deadline and the company turned it down. CEPPWAWU responded by making the following proposals:

  1. That the refinery remains operational and is upgraded. The company must utilize incentives from government and development funding, to assist with this;
  • No jobs should be lost;
  • The company should negotiate any restructuring with the union.
  • The company should provide CEPPWAWU with the current staff complement at the Refinery.
  • That Engen arranges a meeting that will also involve other delegates from CEPPWAWU other than the National Consultative Forum.
  • CEPPWAWU will inform Engen management of the composition of her delegation.
  • CEPPWAWU will in the meantime engage her members on the Repurpose proposal for a way forward.

SASOL SELLING AIR SEPARATION UNITS TO AIRLIQUIDE

Sasol is selling Air Separation Units to Air Liquide. The reason is that the company is diversifying but does not come open to the Union. Sasol is hiding behind the principle of confidentiality.

CEPPWAWU met Air Liquide and the company divulged that they had a Section 177 (Transfer of company with going concern) Agreement with Sasol. Air Liquide was surprised that Sasol did not give CEPPWAWU the information. According to the Competition Commission, a meeting was scheduled for 23/12/2020.  

PetroSA PLAN TO RETRENCH WORKERS

CEPPWAWU MEDIA STATEMENT ON PetroSA

On Friday, 11 December 2020, Pragasen Naidoo, the CEO of PetroSA, the state-owned entity with operations in Mossel Bay and Cape Town, issued a Sec 189a Notice to all employees stating that PetroSA intends to formalize the process which could result in the dismissal and retrenchment of more than 500 workers (more than 40% of current staff compliment). The envisaged effective date is March 2021.

This must be viewed against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and a worsening national unemployment situation surpassing 30%.

CEPPWAWU, a majority labour union at PetroSA, has consistently warned both PetroSA, its holding company Central Energy Fund and the shareholder, Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on the failure of the two boards to provide a bankable plan for the survival of PetroSA. This went to the extent of corresponding directly to the Minister tabling issues of incompetence by the recently appointed CEO, Mer Naidoo, his lies to the Minister, dishonest manner he has engaged labour on matters related to the company’s strategy and plan, and the PetroSA’s board failure to exercise its duties with care, skills and diligence. In return, both PetroSA board and CEF completely abdicated their duties, held countless useless meetings that provided no direction to the company, thus embarrassing Minister Gwede Mantashe in his efforts to save PetroSA. Instead of observing the internal consultation processes enshrined in the Employee Relations Forum Agreement, the PetroSA Management and Board parachuted the ill-advised plan to the Minister for approval, while executing some of the components that are entailed in that plan, rendering the Minister’s approval meaningless.

This Corporate Plan, which seeks to restructure the organisation, contains activities that would ultimately lead to job losses. Labour was not consulted nor was there any attempt to seek meaningful engagement and consensus via the appropriate Labour Relations Act (LRA) mechanisms namely. sec 84 and sec 85. This dispute remains unresolved yet PetroSA executives continue to move forward with their plans to reduce the workforce.

This must be viewed against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and a worsening national unemployment situation surpassing 30%.

CEPPWAWU, a majority labour union at PetroSA, has consistently warned both PetroSA, its holding company Central Energy Fund and the shareholder, Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on the failure of the two boards to provide a bankable plan for the survival of PetroSA. This went to the extent of corresponding directly to the Minister tabling issues of incompetence by the recently appointed CEO, Mer Naidoo, his lies to the Minister, dishonest manner he has engaged labour on matters related to the company’s strategy and plan, and the PetroSA’s board failure to exercise its duties with care, skills and diligence. In return, both PetroSA board and CEF completely abdicated their duties, held countless useless meetings that provided no direction to the company, thus embarrassing Minister Gwede Mantashe in his efforts to save PetroSA. Instead of observing the internal consultation processes enshrined in the Employee Relations Forum Agreement, the PetroSA Management and Board parachuted the ill-advised plan to the Minister for approval, while executing some of the components that are entailed in that plan, rendering the Minister’s approval meaningless.

This Corporate Plan, which seeks to restructure the organisation, contains activities that would ultimately lead to job losses. Labour was not consulted nor was there any attempt to seek meaningful engagement and consensus via the appropriate Labour Relations Act (LRA) mechanisms namely. sec 84 and sec 85. This dispute remains unresolved yet PetroSA executives continue to move forward with their plans to reduce the workforce.

In conclusion, CEPPWAWU is opposed to the issuing of a sec189a contemplation by PetroSA and demand that such be withdrawn with immediate effect. The LRA must be adhered to and there can be no deviation from sec 84 and sec 85 thereof.

CEPPWAWU encourages the DMRE to carefully consider and guide what action must be taken in consideration of the impact that job losses will have on the region and especially the town of Mossel Bay and surround.

HOW COVID 19 IS AFFECTING CEPPWAWU ORGANIZERS

Organizers are the face of the Union and first official contact with the Union. During these days of the pandemic and lockdowns, they have been having challenges ranging from access to members, retrenchments and layoffs and employers refusing to pay Temporary Employment Relief Scheme (TERS).

Comrade Musi Vilakazi, an organizer based at the Springs local says some members could not get pay increase this year because the company they work for was negatively affected by the pandemic. He says in some cases worker has to wait long for TERS payment as a result of the high volume of work at the Department of Labour. He had to request for support and backup from the Regional office and Cosatu, which both helped speed up TERS payment.

Comrade Lockstin Baloyi, CEPPWAWU organizer based in Kempton Park has witnessed the negative impact of COVID 19 on several companies. According to cde Lockstin, big corporates suffered more than the smaller companies. For example, DHL lost a big contract with Netcare; CTP Group and BIDVEST lost big contracts and workers were negatively affected.

Comrade Douglas Maila also an organiser from Springs says COVID 19 has not only affected employers but the Union. He says the Springs Local has not met since the first lockdown in March 2020. He says companies are not cooperative because they refuse to give them a breakdown of payment to check if they complied in paying TERS. He has a case in Uniliver, where the company not only laid older employees but barred him from entering the company premises because of his age. This has impacted negatively on his work because he uses a phone to serve the members of that company. He does not have a laptop contact shop stewards and management effective. He is appealing to get receive a laptop.

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING ACTIVITY PLANS FOR 2021

No.ACTIVITYRESPONSIBLE STRUCTUREDEADLINE
1.NBCCI delegation breakdown per sector NBCCI Representatives22 January 2021
2.Consolidation of local demandsLSSC29 January 2021
3.Breakdown on a number of delegates per regionHead Office29 January 2021
4.Union officials collecting demandsOrganisers/RS12 February 2021
5.Consolidation of Regional DemandRegional Secretaries28 February 2021
6.Submission of delegates names to Head OfficeRegional Secretary28 February 2021
7.Submission of Regional Demands to H/ORegions12 March 2021
8.STRATCOM Planning Meeting by National Sector CoordinatorsHead Office16 March 2021
9.STRATCOM visual meetingHead Office25 – 26 March 2021
10.Sending Consolidated demands to NBCCI and NBCWPSOrganized Labour9 April 2021
11.Negotiation SchoolHead Office15 – 16 April 2021
12.Employers responseEmployers23 April 2021

NEGOTIATIONS CALENDAR

SECTORFIRST ROUNDSECOND ROUNDDISPUTE ROUND
NBCCI
Industrial Chemicals4 & 5 May 202124 & 25 May 20217 & 8 June 2021
Pharmaceuticals5 & 6 May 202126 & 27 May 20219 &  10 June 2021
Glass5 & 6 May 202126 & 27 May 20219 & 10 June 2021
Fast Moving Consumer Goods10 & 11 May 202131 May & 1 June 202114 & 15 June 2021
Petroleum10 & 11 May 202131 May & 1 June 202114 & 15 June 2021
NBCWPS
Sawmilling5 & 6 May 202126 & 27 May 20219 June 2021
Paper & Pulp11 & 12 May 20212 & 3 June 202123 June 2021
  • TWINSAVER

Twinsaver is a company organized nationally and wage negotiations reached a deadlock and workers balloted for a strike. Before members embarked on national strike, parties reached an agreement of 5% increase across the board.

  • TAURUS PACKAGING

Taurus Packaging is regional company with 240 workers based in KZN region. Workers balloted for a protect wage strike and the strike commenced on the 10th November 2020. On the 17th November parties reached a settlement of 7% increase across the board.

  • CEPPWAWU DELEGATED ATTENDED COSATU COLLECTIVE BARGAINING CONFERENCE

COSATU held a Collective Bargaining Conference from the 11 – 12 November 2020. The Conference is a result of the 13th National Congress resolution held on the 17th – 20th September 2018. The theme of the Conference was: “The Future of Collective Bargaining: In Defence of Jobs and Wages.”

The Conference was held virtually and the 281 participants included local trade union federations, continental and international federations. CEPPWAWU had 9 delegates who attended the virtual conference. The first day was marked by messages of support from fraternal organisations.

The second day delegates broke into their respective Commission for the whole day. The 5 Commissions were allocated the following topics:

Commission 1:  The impact of the Labour Market restructuring on workers including vulnerable workers.

Commission 2: Building the organisational capacity of COSATU and affiliates to bargain and organise effectively.

Commission 3: The meaning of the Future of Work and 4th Industrial Revolution and their impact on bargaining, jobs and wages.

Commission 4: Drawing from the lessons and experiences of the National Minimum Wage to build a Living Wage Campaign and advance the decent work agenda.

Commission 5: Political and Economic landscape on which collective bargaining is exercised: pension, health and safety and the impact of COVID 19 on workers and the poor.

On the third day recommendations from the Commissions resulted into the conference resolutions. The Conference ended in adopting a Declaration. The resolutions and their implementations strategy will be discussed at the COSATU Central Executive Committee.

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