Tag Archives: The Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI)

BETTER CONDITIONS FOR CIVILS EMPLOYEES UNDER BARGAINING COUNCIL

Registration with a bargaining council is indeed compulsory; but when a company registers, it benefits everyone. 

This is according to Lindie Fourie, operations manager at the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI), who emphasises that both the employers and employees are definitely better off when the company registers.

“Being part of the BCCEI makes a company an active participant in a more stable and sustainable sector,” says Fourie. “This is mainly because the BCCEI facilitates collective bargaining on wages and general terms of employment, helping employers and labour to arrive at a fair outcome for all.”

The result of collective bargaining, she argues, is invariably of benefit to both employers, many of whom do not have the resources to deal with long term negotiations, and employees, who may not be sufficiently organised at plant or company level to present their demands. A fairer outcome for all also ensures that the general working environment is less disrupted, and the necessary energy and resources can be applied where required. 

There are also certain minimum allowances which employees are entitled to, which are part of the conditions of employment applicable to the whole civil engineering sector. In many instances, employers and employees are not aware of these, she notes.

She highlights that being registered with the BCCEI facilitates the situation where employers and employees can be assisted in understanding what conditions are applicable to them. An example would be where the BCCEI requires businesses to belong to the Construction Industry Retirement Benefit Fund (CIRBF). Many smaller companies do not make any retirement provisions for their staff, but the BCCEI ensures that they attend to this vital aspect of employee well-being. 

“Companies must also have a minimum funeral benefit in place for their employees,” she says. “Where business owners don’t have such schemes, there is an industry retirement benefit fund, medical aid and funeral benefits, although these are not administered by the BCCEI.” 

BARGAINING COUNCIL FOR THE CIVIL ENGINEERING INDUSTRY GETS GREEN LIGHT FROM CCMA

The ongoing success of the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) has led to its accreditation by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) being extended for another three and a half years.

“This is a great achievement, especially for a relatively young bargaining council and we are very proud,” says Merle Denson, dispute manager at the BCCEI. Denson notes that this is the second consecutive accreditation by the CCMA – demonstrating the BCCEI’s capacity to deliver on its mandate.

The CCMA’s accreditation allows the BCCEI to continue performing its dispute resolution functions, either by conciliation or – if the dispute remains unresolved – through arbitration. The green light from the CCMA follows the recent extension by the Minister of Labour of the BCCEI’s dispute resolution collective agreement, allowing its decisions to be binding on non-parties.

“The stringent accreditation process demands that we meet a range of targets and standards, as well as efficiency indicators, to ensure a standardised and optimal performance of our duties,” she says.

“Our services have consistently met CCMA standards in terms of targets like conciliation and arbitration turnaround times, zero late arbitrations awards, settlement rates and quality control measures.”

She says this shows that the dispute resolution centre of the BCCEI is “on the right track” as far as both the CCMA and the Labour Relations Act requirements are concerned. The CCMA’s latest accreditation will run from 1 April 2020 to 31 August 2023.

Detailed reporting of the BCCEI’s operations is required on a regular basis for various bodies, highlighting everything from the number of referrals, outcomes of processes, cases scheduled and analysis of the types of cases being referred. Reports also track specific efficiencies on a monthly basis.

“Reporting documents must be submitted to the CCMA each quarter, for instance,” says Denson. “We are constantly monitoring ourselves in terms of efficiency and performance through the statistics that the BCCEI system generates.”

Among the CCMA’s other requirements is that the commissioners used for conciliation and arbitration – who must be CCMA-accredited in their own right – are all independent and qualified. Their performance is also monitored by the BCCEI in line with a specific code of conduct.

Signatory parties to the BCCEI are the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Building Construction and Allied Workers Unions (BCAWU) from the trade unions, and the Consolidated Employers’ Organisation (CEO) and South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) from the employers.

BCCEI WAIVES LEVIES FOR APRIL AND MAY 2020 BRING RELIEF TO SECTOR

The Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) took an unprecedented step in April 2020 when the Council announced that it would waive the BCCEI administration and dispute levy contributions for that month. In another move aimed at bringing much needed relief to an already ailing industry sector, the BCCEI has announced that this waiver will be extended to the month of May 2020.

This is a significant gesture as the BCCEI does not receive any grants or subsidies from the government and its only source of income is through the administration and dispute levies which is received from registered companies in the civil engineering industry. These levies are used for the running and day-to-day operations of this bargaining council.

BCCEI general secretary, Nick Faasen says that the Council decided on the step as it is fully aware of the situation in which both employers and employees find themselves at this time.

“Budgets and cash flow are under immense pressure following the declaration of the National State of Disaster and the subsequent implementation of the nationwide lockdown which was further extended. We acknowledge that many people in our sector will, in all probability, have a reduced income and we believe it is essential that we work together to find ways to reduce expenses, wherever possible,” Faasen says.

The BCCEI, representing two unions and two employer organisations, provides a range of valuable services to the civil engineering sector. Currently, the Council continues to operate through non-contact methods and remains committed to prompt service delivery to the industry.