The summit, organised by the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA), will see captains of industry, union leaders, senior government ministers and expert analysts discuss the many challenges facing the sector, including crucial debates around conditions of employment and labour costs. Employee costs make up 20% of total costs in the metals and engineering sector.

“A well-functioning economy needs business, labour and government to be in agreement in terms of policy. Our economy has been under enormous pressure since the global financial crisis; we are dealing with crippling youth unemployment, a sub-investment status, stagnant growth and the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope the summit will plant the seed amongst all stakeholders that in order to begin addressing our many challenges, we need to find a better way of working together,” says SEIFSA CEO Lucio Trentini.

Speakers and panellists across the business, labour and government divide will debate a wide range of issues that underpin the current collective bargaining model, the importance of labour market stability in unlocking economic growth and developing a shared vision on how together we potentially can move forward; topics to be covered include the following:

  • Very tough times ahead if we do not turn this ship around — and fast by Dr David Masondo, Deputy Minister of Finance;
  • The implications of declining union representation in bargaining councils by Thulas W Nxesi, the Minister of Employment;
  • The relevance of the current form of central wage bargaining by Afzul Soobedaar, Director at Perispec Consulting;
  • Democratisation of the workplace and the strategic importance of what transformation means in the industry and economy by NUMSA General Secretary Irvin Jim;
  • Opportunity for unions to re-emerge as a united force? by Gideon du Plessis, General Secretary of Solidarity; and
  • What is the future of trade unions and collective bargaining in a reimagined industrial relations framework? by Jonathan Goldberg, Chief Executive Officer of Global Business Solutions.

Macsteel, RMA and Cachalia Capital have put their weight behind the Metal Industries Collective Bargaining Summit as partners, with Engineering Weekly the Summit’s official media partner.

“If we are to put our economy back on track, it is crucial that decision makers from business, labour and government discuss these issues with a view to addressing the many challenges that face us; the Metal Industries Collective Bargaining Summit offers the opportunity to do this,” says Trentini.

SEIFSA is a national federation representing 18 independent employer associations in the metal and engineering industries, with a combined membership of over 1 200 companies employing over 170 000 employees. The federation was formed in 1943 and its member companies range from giant steel-making corporations to micro-enterprises employing fewer than 50 people.    

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