Sunday, June 29, 2008

Trade unions lock horns with employers


By Anele Siwa and Sasha Forbes
29 June 2008

The wage negotiations in the industrial chemical and glass sectors at the National Bargaining Council for the Chemical industry employers and trade unions continue.

“Employers in the industrial chemical sector on Tuesday made a final offer of 11% as wage increase to be implemented on 1 July 2008 and a further 1% increase for implementation on 1 January 2009. This is a record offer in this sector and is the highest offer ever made since the inception of central collective bargaining in the industry in 1996,” says Jaco Kleynhans Solidarity spokesperson.

According to Kleynhans Solidarity will now get permission from its members to decide whether the offer is to be accepted.

“If members decide not to accept the offer, an application will be made for a strike certificate,” he explained.

“The dispute round in the glass sector has meanwhile been concluded on Thursday. Employers in this sector are currently offering an increase of 11%, while trade unions are still demanding a better offer. Although employers are pressuring trade unions to sign a three-year agreement, trade unions still contend that a one-year agreement will be the workable solution this year,” says Kleynhans.

According to Kleynhans trade unions are of the view that the possibility of a multi-year concord should first be referred to a task team for further examination.

“Employers have applied for a “cooling-off period” before negotiations are resumed on 10 July,” he added.

“Rising inflation, interest rates and the cost of living are placing extreme pressure on negotiations and the trade union’s negotiators are doing their utmost to negotiate the best wage increase for its members. The enormous growth that companies have experienced in the various sectors during the past year now has to filter through to employees’ salaries to create hope in the shaky economic climate for employees,” says Marius Croucamp, Solidarity spokesperson for the industry.

Attempts to get comments from employers in the chemical and glass industry have failed.

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