LABOUR AND MANAGEMENT RELATIONS
Centralised Bargaining Issues.
Umgeni Water together with other Water Boards in the Water Services Industry have, through the Statutory Council, embarked on the journey towards full centralised bargaining. The past year saw the following developments:
- The registration of the South African Association of Water Utilities (SAAWU) as an Employer's Association
- Agreement on the industry dispute resolution process outside of the CCMA
- Implementation of the Statutory Council Services
- Agreement on the Auditing Service provider to the council.
This convergence of the various stakeholders within the industry has both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to the equalisation of the very disparate conditions of employment within the water sector.
Relations with the National Education and Allied Worker's Union (NEHAWU)
The majority union subscribed at Umgeni is Nehawu and membership comprised 73 percent of the workforce. Within the bargaining unit which spans Peromnes levels 9-17, 504 out of 607 employees at these levels or approximately 85 percent are members of Nehawu.
In Spite of the organisational restructure, relations between union and management were good over the past year. A number of milestones were achieved, the most outstanding of which are:
- The union's recognition of the need to restructure the Organisation and the cooperation thereafter
- Wage bargaining which reached an agreement within one day
- Acceptance of change to the medical aid
- The adoption of the performance management policy and procedure.
Medical Aid Agreement
A single medical aid scheme, Bonitas, was approved by the Board for all employees as the scheme proves more affordable to employees at the lower end of the pay scale and offers a comprehensive range of benefits. The Union (Nehawu) endorsed the scheme by signing a collective agreement on behalf of its members.