Non-compliance in the coatings sector could mean jail

Non-compliance in the coatings sector

The chemical industry, its suppliers and paint manufacturers may soon find their businesses being criminally charged for non-compliance in meeting Bargaining Council requirements.

At the recently concluded SAPMA AGM, Dr Ivor Blumenthal, CEO of ArkKonsult, explained what has been happening at the National BargainingCouncil for the Chemical Industry between organised business and organised labour (trade unions) and the severe impact these discussions will have for all businesses in the coatings sector.

At this moment, the agreements and discussions at the National Bargaining Council only pertain to members of the Surface Coatings Associations (SCA), which was established by SAPMA as an employer association to represent the interests of SAPMA’s members on this council.

The SCA is only active in the Industrial Chemical Chamber and not in the Chemically Related Consumer Good Chamber, and only has 17 members. Currently, the following discussions only apply to these 17 companies.

The areas covered are:

  • Wages
  • Some conditions of employment
  • Dispute resolution.

Areas which are not covered are:

  • Plant-based bargaining agreements items
  • Pension fund matters
  • Medical aid matters.

Many companies are taking a wait and see approach and not actively involving their businesses to ensure their business’ needs are catered for. As Dr Blumenthal rightly indicated, “If you are not a member of any of the parties to the Bargaining Council, then you are not subject to the agreement entered into by the parties and administered by the Council.”

However, both Organised Business and Labour have indicated their intention to apply to the Minister to extend the current agreement to non-parties. Non-Parties are those companies, which are not members of any of the Associations which are in the Bargaining Council but which operate in any of the industries or associated industries covered by the Bargaining Council.

When the Minister of Labour extends a Bargaining Council Agreement to cover companies which are not members:

* Those companies have no representation on the Bargaining Council in-terms of policies or rules

* Those companies are fully covered by all of the provisions and requirements of that Council Agreement. Provisions set usually by large companies in a sector, who are members of one of the Associations.

Non-Compliance with Bargaining Council requirements will be criminalised.

The current Bargaining Council Agreement ends in June 2019 and is being re-negotiated by 17 companies from the Paint Sector, together with representatives from the other Industries.

The current demands from trade unions are:

  • 20% wage increases across the board
  • Multi-year agreements – 2-3 years or more
  • No distinction between large and small companies or between industries and chambers
  • Multiple conditions of employment such as transport allowances, and many other matters which they want to negotiate in the agreement on a collective level.

“If Business ends up entering into an agreement with the Trade Unions, which will serve as the blueprint for the Bargaining Council activities for the next three years, and that agreement is extended to cover all non-parties, every company – small, medium and large will be required to comply and implement the agreement in their workplaces, without having had any say in what the policies of the council should be, what exemptions and considerations, should be implemented for small, medium and large businesses, and whether that agreement should be for a single year or for multiple years,” explained Dr Blumenthal.

As such, SAPMA urges its members to send commentary on the following mandate:

  1. The new agreement is already done-and-dusted and for this reason SAPMA wants the existing SCA members to be solely responsible for implementing what is agreed-to for 2019-2020 and for continuing to fund the SCA with 2019-2020 membership fees.
  2. Instead of only 17 companies being SCA Members, SAPMA wants all SAPMA members to automatically be SCA members. If you are a SAPMA Member, then for labour relations purposes you automatically belong to the Surface Coatings Association from 2020 and are covered by the terms of the agreement.
  3. SAPMA wants to make it clear to the NBCCI that from 2020, the SCA reserves the right to extract itself from the existing agreement or to request significant amendments to be negotiated in this agreement, making allowances for the extended SCA Membership and the fact that as small and medium-sized businesses, their realities and priorities are different.
  4. In the SCA we want every Member to be a member in one of three categories based on the number of employees: Category 1: to 100 employees (R100 per month membership fee); Category 2: to 250 employees (R150 per month membership fee); Category 3: 251+ employees (R300 per month membership fee).
  5. SAPMA Membership Fee’s will be adjusted to incorporate the SCA Membership Fee.
  6. All companies irrespective of the category of membership will have one vote and carry equal weight within the SCA.
  7. SAPMA wants a mandate to negotiate a special dispensation in the Bargaining Council Agreement for the paint sector relating not only to industrial chemicals, but also to the Chamber for Chemical Related Consumer Goods – Retail.
  8. SAPMA wants a mandate to broker all exemption applications to the Bargaining Council on-behalf of SAPMA members to ensure compliance procedurally and the necessary attention from the Bargaining Council itself.
  9. SAPMA wants a mandate to negotiate that the Bargaining Council offers training for paint-specific commissioners for the purpose of dispute resolution – creating conciliation and arbitration commissioner panellists from within the paint sector.
  10. SAPMA seeks a mandate to negotiate an enforceable peace obligation into the Agreement for the period of the Agreement preventing any form of Industrial Action not contemplated in the agreement.
  11. SAPMA seeks a mandate to establish an SCA Management Division within SAPMA and ensure that it runs smoothly and effectively among all SAPMA members.
  12. SAPMA wants a mandate to consider withdrawing from the Bargaining Council should we not be able to achieve consensus on the redevelopment and positioning of the SCA within the existing employer caucus or in establishing a new agreement with the Bargaining Council itself.

SAPMA urgently asks for comment on the proposed mandate. Email

For more information from Dr Blumenthal, visit



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