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Keys to a successful industry

Truck

Our service offerings contribute to improving the working conditions of our approximately 130 000 employee members, relieving our employer members from the burden of benefits administration by managing the industry’s annual leave, sick leave and holiday bonus funds, so that their full attention is turned towards their core business and by proudly providing health and wellness services to all industry employees. It is for this reason that we are continuously working to improve our service offerings through innovation.

As per the three year industry wage agreement, which expires in February 2016, the minimum wages in respect of employees for whom minimum wages are prescribed in schedule 5 of the Main Collective Agreement were increased from 1 March 2015. Extended Bargaining Unit employees were awarded increases, based on actual basic wages, from 1 March 2015. In addition, Cross Border Allowances were increased. 

At the NBCRFLI, we have the important responsibility of enhancing stability within the road freight and logistics industry by ensuring that all stakeholders in the industry comply with the provisions of the Councils’ Agreements. Non-compliance of the Council’s Collective Agreement is an offense we take very seriously and we have therefore introduced penalties against employers who contravene the provisions of these collective agreements.

From the 1 March 2015, in terms of the provisions of clauses 71 (Enforcement of Agreement) and 72 (Interest of the NBCRFLI Main Collective Agreement) if an employer is found not to comply with the Main Collective Agreement, the matter will be referred to arbitration and the arbitrator will have to make an award compelling the employer (respondent) to comply with the provisions of the agreement.  In addition to this, the arbitrator may impose an arbitration fee (clause 71 of the Main Collective Agreement) and penalties in terms of the notice issued by the Minister of Labour in terms of section 33A (13) of the Labour Relations Act (LRA), as well as interest in terms of clause 72 of Council’s Main Collective Agreement. 

In addition, whenever an amount payable to the NBCRFLI in terms of the Main Collective Agreement is not paid on the due date, interest shall be calculated from the due date to the final date of payment at a rate of 2% per month or part thereof.

Our designated agents assist our employer members to comply with the provisions of the agreement through educational inspections. This helps to reduce the number of complaints and non-payment of returns, as well as ensures that all who fall under its jurisdiction are registered. Thereby, enforcement disputes are reduced and enforcement issues can be dealt with early before the case goes to arbitration.  If the employer persists in non-compliance, the designated agent will enforce the provisions of the promulgated agreement through arbitration.

With our employee members made up of over 130 000 employees across South Africa, all from different language groups, we made a decision to translate the existing English legal version of the Main Collective Agreement into four of the 11 official languages; namely Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu and Sesotho. The agreements, which are available for viewing on the NBCRFLI website and mobi app, will soon be available at our 18 offices nationwide. By encouraging understanding of the Main Collective Agreement, we are enhancing the levels of compliance within the industry.

To ensure the protection of whistle-blowers, the NBCRFLI has implemented an outsourced disclosure service. The objective of the hotline is to create an avenue for all our stakeholders to report non-compliance with the Main Collective Agreement, as well as suspicions of fraud, theft, corruption and anything that they feel uncomfortable about to the Council, anonymously. The information received from the ‘Be Heard’ disclosure service is used as a basis for investigation into illegal activity.

In July 2014, the Council received information through its ‘Be Heard’ line about an employer who was initially registered in 2005 as a normal employer with four employees; however around 2007 the company status was changed to ‘owner driver’ that resulted in the discontinuation of Council levies and contributions.

After conducting numerous site visits, meeting with representatives from the organisation, and issuing a subpoena by the designated agent from the Council’s KZN office, the employer still did not comply and the matter was filed at the Labour Court. The matter relating to the fraudulent car registration was reported by the Council through our independent forensic investigators to the Road Traffic Management Corporation who conducted a raid at the premises. A criminal case has now been opened against the owner, who was arrested in September 2014. This is concrete evidence of the effectiveness of our ‘Be Heard’ disclosure service and how it is being utilised to uphold the law and protect industry members.

As an organisation, it is highly important that we have the correct particulars of our members at all times, as this assists us in delivering a high-level service. We would like to emphasise that it is the responsibility of employers to inform the NBCRFLI of any changes to their contact details. In terms of Sub-Clause 45(5) of the Council’s Main Collective Agreement, every registered employer must notify the Council within the prescribed 30 day period, in writing, of any changes in respect of particulars provided at the time of registration.

As part of our Industry Wellness umbrella, another important value add service offered by the NBCRFLI is our Wellness Fund Health Plan.  We have resolved that the Wellness Fund Health Plan (basic medical insurance) will only cover employees whose monthly contributions towards the Wellness Fund (together with the employer’s portion) are at least R 79.12 effective 1 April 2015.

In a move to create clear labour expectations for truck drivers and their employers, the Council recently appointed PE Corporate Services SA (Pty) Ltd Management Consultants to develop a formal driver guideline, which outlines the expected responsibilities of the different categories of drivers, and to recommend an appropriate application of the guideline to promote compliance. The investigation has now been completed.

If we are to continue to service our stakeholders effectively, education about ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’, as an organisation, is critical. In 2013, we identified that in order to reach and educate our stakeholders with efficiency; we need to focus on developing our website into a key communication tool for education.

Since then, our website has developed steadily, particularly with the addition of specific service area contact telephone numbers, our online service query function, valuable current information for new members, an in-depth explanation of agreement compliance, and all the latest newsletters and circulars in electronic format. This is yet another example of our commitment to keep our members informed about important developments within the road freight and logistics industry.

Following our highly successful Gauteng Regional Stakeholders Conference in March last year, which provided us with an excellent opportunity to engage with our stakeholders in Gauteng, we are now in the process of exploring how to best engage with our stakeholders in the Western Cape, KZN and Head Office regions.

Great opportunities lie ahead for us as an organisation in the future, but can only be achieved through successful collaboration with you. We look forward to continuing on this journey with you, our stakeholders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            NBCRFLI

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