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WHY COLLECTIVE BARGAINING IS FAILING IN SOUTH AFRICA

In response to NEASA’s article.

NEASA’s article correctly highlights the damaging effects of centralised collective bargaining on small businesses. SMMEs are the engines of growth in our economy, and the recent creation of the Small Business Development Ministry was intended to strengthen this sector.
However, the extension of ‘high cost’ collective agreements to small enterprises, ignores current economic realities and works against that very purpose, resulting in the closure of many small companies.

The antagonistic ‘us vs them’ approach to collective bargaining consistently delivers sub-optimal agreements. In turn, this attitude is mirrored in the general state of union/management relationships on the shop floor. The unfortunate result is that when tough economic conditions arise, the absence of a constructive and open labour/management partnership in a company is exposed. With this comes the inability to weather the storm, and job losses become a reality.

B&A fully supports this article. It is without doubt a certainity that we need to not only create but also sustain jobs in South Africa. However, big corporates cannot be relied on to do this; we need entreprenuers! Foolishly however, we do everything we can to make the life of the entrepreneur as difficult as possible. Add to that the militancy of some of the bigger unions such as Numsa, which treat the employer as the enemy. It is very clear as to why there is no investment, no job creation and mass job losses. Without a major paradigm shift, true change and prosperty is impossible.

The employer is the CUSTOMER of employees, not their enemy! If we want to increase our sales to our customer we have provide the best value for money. We also have to nurture and value the relationship that we have with them. This means respect, trust and integrity that is recripicol. No person will enter into or remain in a relationship which is dysfunctional; unless they themselves sustain it. The objective of all parties should be to do everything that is reasonable to build the best possible working relationship. This is so the customer chooses you and not your opposition (in the workers’ case, mechanisation and restructuring!).

For more information on our Practical Negotiations, Shop Floor Role and Practical Labour Law training please contact us http://www.bruniquel.co.za/contact/

NEASA’s article