The establishment of registered employers associations in the chemical industry came about through the pressure exerted by the trade unions on individual employers to engage in centralised bargaining in the industry.
The process started in 1995 and has culminated in entrenching centralised bargaining and the eventual registration of the National Bargaining Council for the Chemical Industry (NBCCI) on 3 December 2001.
According to the constitution of the NBCCI the industry is divided up into the following sectors and sub-sectors.
1. Industrial Chemicals
1.1 Base Chemicals
1.4 Speciality Chemicals
1.5 Surface Coatings
4. Fast Moving Consumer Goods
Each of these sectors has a registered (in terms of the Labour Relations Act) Employers Association.
Jan Smit, who has been involved in this process from the start, is the appointed secretary of the following four Employers Associations, who are parties to the NBCCI.
- National Base Chemical Employers Association (NBCEA)
- National Speciality Chemicals Employers Association (NaSCEA)
- National Fast Moving Consumer Goods Employers Association (NFMCGEA)
- The Labour Affairs Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry. (LAAPI)
The party trade unions to the NBCCI are:
- CEPPWAWU (Chemical, Printing, Paper, Wood and Allied Workers Union)
- GIWUSA (General Industries Workers Union)
- SACWU (South African Chemical Workers Union)
Although membership of the employers associations was originally very strongly union driven we now find that employers who are members of the employers association are very positive about the whole process of centralised bargaining.
This stems from the fact that these employers have the assurance (and have experienced it) that in any dealings with the trade unions (including the annual wage bargaining) their interests are being represented by a group of well qualified, experienced and skilled negotiators. Particular attention is given to the needs of small employers.
Novas Labour Relations Consulting provides the Associations with a full secretarial and administrative service. Jan Smit as the appointed secretary represents the employers in direct negotiations with the trade unions as well as in the structures of the NBCCI and CHIETA. He also, on request, represents employers in disputes referred to the NBCCI and CCMA (conciliation as well as arbitration).
Apart from providing members of the Associations with, within reason, free telephone advise on all aspects of labour relations or human resources, the full spectrum of consulting and training services provided by Novas is available to members at discounted rates.
Members are regularly kept up to date regarding developments in employment law and other legislation affecting business, through newsletters and news flashes. (During Wage Negotiations daily progress reports are distributed to all members).
Members of the Association meet on a regular basis where labour relations and related issues are discussed. During these meetings representatives in various structures of the Chemical Industry (e.g. the CHIETA Governing Board and Chambers, Bargaining Council Task Teams and Committees) will report back on developments and activities.
Members also have the advantage of being part of the broader chemical industry group structure. Gerrie Bezuidenhout as Employer Administrator co-ordinates the activities of the nine employer associations. As such he represents the employers in structures like BUSA (Business Unity South Africa) and Nedlac as well as in meetings with Government. He also maintains close contact with employer associations in other industries.
As far as skills development is concerned the Associations are represented in the various bodies of the CHIETA (the SETA for the Chemical Industry) and as such members interests are served there.
MEMBERSHIP OF THE NBCCI:
Members of the employers association automatically become members of the NBCCI where they are represented in the various structures by elected representatives from amongst themselves.
Although members are not compelled to be part of the bargaining process a prime aim of the NBCCI is the extension of agreements to cover non-parties who fall within the scope of the Council.
Members of the NBCCI pay a monthly levy to the Council in respect of all their employees as follows:
Employees Employers Total
Employees inside the Bargaining Unit R6.50 R6.50 R13.00
Employees outside the Bargaining Unit R3.25 R3.25 R 6.50
Employees inside the bargaining unit (i.e. those who are covered by the scope of the substantive agreements) pay a dispute levy as well as a bargaining levy. Those outside the bargaining unit pay only the dispute levy. The levies paid by the employees are matched by the employer.
In terms of Section 52 of the Labour Relations Act No. 66 of 1995 the NBCCI is accredited by the CCMA to perform the dispute resolution function in respect of disputes between parties to the Council.
The following are included in the term “parties”:
- All nine (9) employers’ organisations who are party to the Council and their members;
- All employees of the above employers;
- All four (4) trade unions who are party to the Council and their members who are employed by employers who are members of the nine (9) employers’ organisations mentioned above.
More information is available on the NBCCI website at www.nbcci.org.za