Feb 9, 2023

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Company challenges extension of bargaining agreement to non-parties

Innovative Staffing Solutions (ISS) has filed an urgent motion in the labor court to block the extension of the collective agreement in the road freight and logistics sector to non-members.

On Monday , ISS – the outsourcing company , which provides permanent employment to more than 36,000 employees — filed a two-part motion.

In Part A, ISS requested the court pending the decision of a challenge at a later date in Part B, the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry (NBCRFLI) from enforcing its master contract against ISS.

In part B of the motion, ISS seeks an order reviewing and overturning the Secretary of State for Employment and Labour’s decision which to extend the term of the main agreement for the NBCRFLI to non-parties, as published in a government gazette dated February 11, 2022.

He also wants the order explained, da ss the extension of the period of op ration of the main collective agreement until 2024 invalid and without force and effect.

In February this year, the Minister extended amendments to the main collective agreement of the NBCRFLI to non-parties in the industry and also extended the period of validity of this collective agreement until February 2024.

The ISS application and the employers’ associations were involved in the application for the extension of the collective agreement. These include the Road Freight Association, the National Employers’ Association of SA and the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union.

“The reality is that this extension risks forcing even more companies to cut employee benefits to cut back wages and potentially even job losses at ISS to enforce NBCRFLI compliance.”

The company says it remains in litigation with the Bargaining Council over the issue whether it falls under the NBCRFLI jurisdiction of the council and subsequently whether it should be forced to abide by the council’s main collective bargaining agreement.

ISS Chief Executive Arnoux Maré said that ISS all exceed the minimum provisions of the Council’s main collective agreement. He said if ISS were forced to register with the council, it would be forced to cut its salaries and staff benefits, which include extensive medical assistance and a provident fund.

“Nevertheless, the negotiating council is remains committed to enforcing its main contract and effectively strengthening its own finances at the expense of ISS employees.

“We believe the court will recognize the seriousness of this case and agree that the extension of the contract by Minister the Central Collective Bargaining Agreement was in question. This will prevent the Negotiating Council from relying on this agreement in its future interactions with ISS.”

In its motion, the ISS said it believed the Minister was failing to comply with the provisions of Section 32 of the Industrial Relations have law requiring that he first solicits and considers comments from all parties concerned before proceeding with the extension.

Maré said it appeared that the minister was fulfilling his duty of procedural fairness and due diligence and violated the rights of ISS and other non-parties in the industry to acknowledge their concerns.

ISS would like the emergency motion to be heard next month.