Johannesburg – The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (Neasa) is to lodge an urgent application in the Labour Court in Johannesburg to stop the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) from approaching the minister of labour to request her to extend the recently signed wage settlement agreement between the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA (Seifsa), National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and other unions to non-parties.

This comes following a meeting of the MEIBC on Wednesday, where a decision was taken to request Minister Mildred Oliphant to extend the agreement to the whole of the industry.

“The whole meeting was riddled with unconstitutional and unlawful processes. It was obvious that parties conspired against Neasa to steamroller through these resolutions. Neasa, the largest employers’ organisation within the MEIBC, was not even allowed to vote on the crucial resolutions which will bind the whole of the Metal Industry,” said Neasa CEO Gerhard Papenfus in a statement on Thursday.

“Seifsa, the federation representing some employer bodies on the council, voted with Numsa to approach the minister in this regard.”

Papenfus said the meeting once again illustrated “the complete and utter chaos the council finds itself in”.

“The meeting again confirmed that unless totally transformed, this council will remain an obstacle to progress in this industry. Neasa is of the view that this council can no longer be trusted with the affairs of SMMEs in South Africa,’ he said.

Neasa will in due course approach the Labour Court with an urgent application to stop the parties from approaching the minister of labour.

‘We cannot allow for a request to extend this agreement to even reach the office of the minister. Discussions with her office has illustrated clear bias against Neasa and we are uncomfortable with them not properly advising the Minister,” said Papenfus.

He said Neasa will not allow the Seifsa/Numsa alliance to, “with the help of a biased MEIBC” and department of labour, force its will on 85% of employers in the industry.

In July this year, Neasa and five other organisations refused to sign the settlement agreement reached between Seifa and trade unions and started a lock-out process of union members who participated in the strike.

“The lock-out will be lifted only if Neasa’s demands are met,” said Papenfus.