Business Times reports that the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) will shut its doors if companies and unions do not agree to an 18% levy increase.

The council, which services about 300,000 employees and more than 10,000 employers, has not had a levy increase since 2011 and now has a R14-million deficit. It is unable to pay some service providers and has temporarily halted dispute resolution services due to lack of funds. The council has been asking for an increase in levies almost every year since 2011, but this has been rejected by employers because of slow economic growth and the contraction in the steel industry. The levy collection was also affected by an industry strike in 2014 as well as a four-month delay in the renewal of the levy last year.

MEIBC general secretary Thulani Mthiyane is concerned that should the council close or cut its 150 staff members, the industry would deteriorate into a noncomplying and deregulated one. Employers' organisation Seifsa is encouraging employers to look at the big picture. Irvin Jim of steelworkers union Numsa said the reason the council had not received any increase on levies was that there was a level of hostility from employers who were against collective bargaining.

The council will meet with employers and unions on 11 May to ask for the 18% increase in the levy.

Read this report by Noompumelelo Magwaza in full on page 1 of Sunday Times Business Times of 17 April 2016

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