To ease local wage negotiations in its industry, the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) has embarked on building strong negotiations through training.
As part of this process, members of the National Negotiating Forum (NNF) have been undergoing training courses to improve their negotiation skills.
During 2016, two training courses from the International Labour Organisation were completed, followed by a collective bargaining/negotiation skills course and a relationship building initiative workshop this year. Both workshops were presented by Conflict Dynamics.
The NNF intends to start its industry negotiations during the first week of February 2018, even though the Wage and Task Grade Collective Agreement only expires on August 31, 2018.
During this initial round of negotiations, the conditions of employment, registration and administration expenses and construction industry retirement benefit fund collective agreements will also be negotiated.
“The council offers a range of valuable services to the civil engineering sector, but the most vital is to be deeply immersed in the complexity of the labour relations arena and assist parties build trust and establish relationships,” says BCCEI secretary general Nick Faasen.
The council’s party members include the Building, Construction and Allied Workers Union and the National Union of Mineworkers on the employees’ side, while employers are represented by the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors and the small business focused Consolidated Employers’ Organisation.
In its four years since inception, the BCCEI has grown its staff to 31 employees in five offices: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban, with the option of opening branches in the Free State and Northern Cape on the cards.
Its yearly budget has also grown, from R3.2-million to R46-million.
In addition to regulating employment conditions and labour relations in the civil engineering industry, the council’s services to members include training, compliance assistance and oversight of industry medical aid and provident funds.
It also established a dispute resolution centre – accredited by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration – to conciliate and arbitrate in cases in the civil engineering sector where parties cannot reach a settlement.