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New body to protect paint retailers from state ‘invasion’

Home Engineering Associations New body to protect paint retailers from state ‘invasion’

THE South African Paint Manufacturing Association (SAPMA) has established a sister organisation, the Retail Hardware and Paint Association, to intensively lobby and represent the interests of “beleaguered” hardware and paint retailers.

SAPMA Executive Director Tara Benn said the association’s retail members now, more than ever, need a dedicated effort to effectively safeguard and stand up against increasing government regulation of private wholesale and retail companies.

The body was active last year in lobbying government to relax lockdown restrictions which, at the onset of the pandemic, threatened the continuity and survival of hardware and paint outlets.

Now, said Benn, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), and more recently the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL), are planning to regulate the hardware and paint retail sector.

“Two structures are currently under discussion: a Retail Charter Council, for BBBEE Purposes, and a generalised Retail Bargaining Council, designed to regulate wages and conditions of employment,” she said.

“Furthermore, the Construction Sector Charter Council is already claiming that retail paint and hardware companies fall under its scope. This means that such companies are subject to the Council’s scorecard for BBBEE purposes.”

She said the most immediate “threat” that SAPMA has identified is a plan by the Black Business Council for the Built Environment, together with Master Builders South Africa, to collaborate with the DEL and DTIC to implement “preposterous” new employment equity targets for hardware and paint retailers.

“The stated aim of the Director General of Employment and Labour, is for the DEL to introduce a ‘Certificate of Compliance’ designed to allow only Level 1 and 2 measured entities, to tender and contract for supply chain providers into the Public Sector or to be listed on the Preferential Supply-Chain Database of the DTIC.”

She said that in addition to offering a counter to this proposed “invasion” of its members, SAPMA will also on behalf of the Retail Hardware and Paint Association, assist in training, professional recognition and general development of staff in this sector.

It will also create specific dispute resolution structures to help retailers avoid having to work through the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in matters relating to employment, performance, discipline and dismissals; and will facilitate Section 189 staff retrenchment processes where necessary on members’ request.

“The new Retail Hardware and Paint Association, acting as both a trade and an employer association, will operate under the SAPMA umbrella as is currently the case of the Surface Coatings Association, which has been managed by SAPMA since 1985. A separate Governance Structure will be created for the new association which, once in place, will replace the existing SAPMA Retail Committee,” Benn said.

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