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Thread: Status of NBCEI

  1. #1
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Status of NBCEI

    With pay day just around the corner, I called the local compliance officer of the National Bargaining Council for the Electrical Industry to find out the current situation on the extension of the collective agreement.

    The NBCEI may be carrying on with "business as usual", but right now it's clearly not.

    The extension of the collective agreement to non-parties expired on 31st December 2011 - so effectively what does that mean?

    Provided there is a collective agreement in place, as per section 23 of the Labour Relations Act it is binding only on the parties to that agreement.
    Quite simply, non-parties are not bound by the collective agreement at the moment.

    So for parties to the collective agreement, I guess it is business as usual. The question is, what should non-parties be doing right now?
    Do we deduct and pay over contributions as in the past, or stop?

    I suppose the big question is - is the Minister of Labour going to grant the application for extension or not?

    If we stop paying, it'll be quite a PITA if the Minister suddenly does grant the extension and backdates its effective date.

    Any thoughts, anyone?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Deduct and keep in escrow. If a backdated extension is agreed by government then pay over the amounts accordingly. I think bigger problems will occur if you keep paying over and there is no extension.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    And pay back to the staff if the extension doesn't come...

    That kinda works, but it'll mess up the PAYE, UIF and SDL deductions if the agreement isn't extended. I could reverse the entries in February, I guess (as long as my payroll program will accept negative values in the pension deductions field) - but that's as late as I can leave a final decision on this with the annual EMP501 recon looming.

    I was taking a closer look at the LRA this evening and now I'm wondering if the Minister can even grant an extension now. If I'm interpreting the Act correctly, it would have to be a new extension of a collective agreement, and not an extension of an existing extension (sorry - I know that sounds wierd but I can't think of a better way to put it).

    This implies the prerogative of the Minister to extend an agreement despite a lack of majority representivity by both Unions and employer representative parties would fall away. And the employee representative parties fall woefully short of representing a majority of employees falling within the scope and area, so the Minister would be obliged to refuse a new extension.

    The Minister is also obliged to respond within 60 days of the request for an extension. That plainly hasn't happened, so effectively he's declined the extension request and also declined the use of his prerogative in the matter.

    I think I'm going to put this to my staff tomorrow morning and take some feedback from them too.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    .............it would have to be a new extension of a collective agreement, and not an extension of an existing extension (sorry - I know that sounds wierd but I can't think of a better way to put it)...........


    .............The Minister is also obliged to respond within 60 days of the request for an extension. That plainly hasn't happened, so effectively he's declined the extension request and also declined the use of his prerogative in the matter.......
    I think they're in a catch 22 and the fact they couldn't decide within the 60 days has now made it far less likely to be a straight forward matter of giving a yes or no. I think the expired agreement may have expired for good hence the suggestion of deducting and leaving in escrow somewhere.

    Problem is from an accounting and UIF/PAYE point of view you're between a rock and a hardplace anyway unless your crystal ball is more reliable than mine. I just wouldn't like to be responsible for expediting a refund if the agreement which is at present a full month dead isn't officially re-extended.





    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    ...........I think I'm going to put this to my staff tomorrow morning and take some feedback from them too.
    Probably not a bad idea (depending on you staff I suppose). If you explian the implications of all the options and they decide then they can also come to the party later if it comes to UIF/SARS penalties.

    Seriously though it could be several months before this is resolved so I would suggest the money is set aside one way or another, I would equally not want to be in the position of having to collect six months back payments from staff either.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Well, we've got consensus not to pay anything over to the bargaining council at the moment. We'll be dotting the i's and crossing the t's on the finer detail tomorrow morning. (I'm leaving the door open for the folks who might not agree with the louder voices to express their thoughts to me privately before finalisation).

    In broad terms I'm mandated to proceed as if there is no pension deduction, but deduct the balancing sum required to keep the take-home pay stable instead. That deducted money will go into escrowal for the time being.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    Seriously though it could be several months before this is resolved...
    If it does drag on for a while, I suggest there's little chance of a decision being backdated without a crippling objection being raised.

    It seems clear to me that the only hope for this extension being granted across the whole sector relies on section 32 (5)

    Despite subsection (3)(b) and (c), the Minister may extend a collective agreement in terms of subsection (2) if

    (a) the parties to the bargaining council are sufficiently representative within the registered scope of the bargaining council; and

    (b) the Minister is satisfied that failure to extend the agreement may undermine collective bargaining at sectoral level or in the public service as a whole.
    and quite clearly the Minister is not satisfied that the parties are sufficiently representative (which given the level of representivity particularly on the employee party side is barely surprising).

    I doubt the employee representative side has much prospect of boosting their numbers rapidly, so the best prospect of an application for extension succeeding is if the scope and/or the areas applied for are drastically reduced. Which would make it a new deal, and very difficult to justify backdating.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  7. Thanks given for this post:

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    You've done more homework on this whan I have. Given the clause you quoted I'm also even less inclined to believe it will be extended. I'm also impressed your guys voluntarily decided to keep the deductions going and set the amounts aside, it makes good sense but good sense doesn't always win the day.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I've confirmed today, no extension of the main agreement has been given or gazetted by the Minister as yet. And yet despite being a non-party I've received a Compliance Order.

    Arbitration is set down for 20th April.
    This should be interesting
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  10. Thanks given for this post:

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Rocked up for arbitration this afternoon. Apparently the arbitrator is sick and couldn't make it today. I suspect we won't be seeing a sick note and they did not set a new date.

    Had some idle chit chat with the compliance officer instead.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  12. #9
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    :I suspect we won't be seeing a sick note and they did not set a new date.
    There's a lot of friday afternoon-monday morning fever going around. I would try mid week for your next meeting if you can
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Back to business as usual

    Attached is a notice that's starting to make the rounds.

    Looks like the bargaining council is back in business, with some provisions kicking in on 17th September, and the whole shooting match in play from 1st October 2012.

    Provided the notice is gazetted, of course.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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