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Sub-contractors to march over BIBC issues

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Members of the building sub-contracting fraternity in the Western Cape say they have no choice but to take their grievances to the streets, in the face of growing anger against the Building Industry Bargaining Council (BIBC).  During a programme on VOC two weeks ago, sub-contractors aired their frustrations with the autocracy of the BIBC and its enforced regulations on small companies.

Sub-contractors are being forced to comply with paying huge levies on a monthly basis – or face the consequences of being blacklisted and not issued with tenders. These levies are, amongst other things, a contribution to certain minimum employee benefits and are gazetted in the Collective Agreement by the minister of Labour.

The regulations, as stipulated by the BIBC, indicate that both the contractor and client may be liable for penalties or even face prosecution should the contractor not be compliant. But those in the sub-contracting industry claim their workers are not seeing the full extent of these employee benefits.

During an on-air discussion, one sub-contractor who called into the programme spoke of how the main-contractor who he worked for had taken R80 000 from his income to pay the BIBC in order to ensure his compliance.

Furthermore, sub-contractors have raised concerns that there is no representation of the sub-contractor’s industry on the board of the BIBC.  Following discussions last week between the newly formed Building Society of the Sub Contractors and the BIBC, sub-contractors were offered one seat, which they declined.

“We said no because they will overrule us with that one seat,” said Sulaiman Adams from the Building Society of the Sub Contractors.

“We have asked them to stop terrorising us with regards to the non-compliance issue. The problem is that BIBC wants sub-contractors to pay them the money. So we are going to stop the signing of the new constitution, as the old one expires soon.”

The organisation said since the issues were raised on VOC two weeks ago, their membership has grown.

“Its amazing to see all the frustrations that people have with the BIBC. They are like the firauns of this industry. They want to take huge amounts of money from us, which we cannot afford.”

Adams said their plan moving forward is to take the masses to the street. They are expected to hold a march on Wednesday 24th April from Keizergracht to Parliament. The aim is to hand over a memorandum of grievances to the Minister of Labour.

“We are tired of them telling us we are non-compliant because of payment. We are tired of them telling us they are paying out our workers huge pensions, and yet they cannot show us the statistics. We want people to stand with us and join in their numbers.”

The BIBC was unavailable for comment.



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