Having a committed and proactive bargaining council is what makes all the difference to an industry sector. This is according to Nick Faasen, secretary general of the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI).
During 2016 the BCCEI completed a programme of workshops in all the major centres, and Faasen says it still appears that many companies in the civil engineering industry do not understand the numerous functions of its own bargaining council.
“In fact, we have been inundated with questions regarding the role and function of the bargaining council,” Faasen says. “Let me start by saying that a bargaining council is not just about collective bargaining for wage increases.”
The BCCEI is a sector specific bargaining council created in terms of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA).
Some of the main powers and functions of a bargaining council are to:
- make and manage collective agreements;
- prevent and resolve labour disputes;
- establish and manage an administration and dispute resolution fund;
- promote and establish training and education workshops;
- establish and manage schemes or funds to benefit its parties or members; and
- make and submit proposals on policies and laws that affect a sector or area.
“The BCCEI has a responsibility to the employer (companies) and the employees, and although it is a creature of statute, it is not state sponsored. It is funded through levies paid equally by employers and employees. The BCCEI operates for the benefit of the industry itself,” he continues.
Faasen and his team are determined to level the playing fields in the civil engineering industry, and ensure fair competition which is practically important specifically at a time when the industry faces uncertainty.
Faasen says that dealing with a bargaining council can be a daunting process, but it need not be. The team at BCCEI’s various offices are well-equipped to assist with telephonic or face-to-face assistance and guidance. Significantly, the council has a comprehensive website which is kept updated and allows immediate access to information that both employers and employees may need.
Faasen says that registering with the BCCEI is mandatory under law, and the council conducts proactive educational audits to assist all those who fall within its jurisdiction. He hastens to add that where a company is genuinely experiencing difficulty in meeting its obligations in accordance with the agreement, there is a provision whereby the company can apply for exemption and include an appeal process. The consideration and granting of such exemptions and appeals are carried out by independent bodies.
The BCCEI has extended an invitation to all parties to make contact with one of its offices or via the website, and participate more fully.
Additional information can be found at www.bccei.co.za