Bargaining councils bad for small mines – Neasa

Image courtesy Chance Agrella/

Image courtesy Chance Agrella/

Collective bargaining in the mining industry harms small business, the National Employers’ Association of SA (Neasa) said on Wednesday.

“The labour law is drafted in such a way that it prejudices small businesses,” Neasa CEO Gerhard Papenfus said in Johannesburg.

“Big employers and trade unions can enter into agreements… Agreements that are completely negligent of the interest of small employers.”

He said this was because legislation was written in a way that prevented small businesses from negotiating their own wage agreements.

Small businesses were often hard hit because cost increases affected them directly and immediately, said Papenfus.

“For a small business you can not apply the same principles that you apply for big business,” he said.

Based on this Neasa was taking the labour department and its minister to court.

During a presentation in Bryanston, Johannesburg, Papenfus said the bargaining council in the mining industry was “functioning unconstitutionally” because an agreement was signed in a structure that did not exist.

He said despite informing the minister that the agreement, which determined the wages in the sector, was “unconstitutionally invalid” she extended the agreement.

In April last year, Neasa lodged an application with the Labour Court to argue that the latest agreement the minister signed was not negotiated in the council and that the industry was not sufficiently represented. It was currently waiting for the court to set a date for the matter to be heard.

Papenfus said because of the bargaining council small businesses could not compete economically and this affected employment negatively.


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