BIBC paid out R200m in bonuses/leave pay to the Western Cape’s building industry in December 2023

At the close of 2023, some 30 000 building industry employees in the Western Cape received more than R200 million in bonuses and leave pay largely due to the efforts of the Building Industry Bargaining Council (BIBC).

The BIBC has been instrumental in ensuring hundreds of thousands of workers in the Western Cape continue to benefit financially despite the stagnant national economy.

According to Danie Hattingh, Principal Officer of the BIBC, the Western Cape sector has been a shining example to the rest of South Africa.

Over the last eight quarters, the Western Cape has performed best among the country’s largest construction employment contributors, boasting an average growth of some 8%.

The Council’s resilience was severely tested at the height of the pandemic, yet it was still able to sponsor retirement fund contributions of compliant employers and employees for seven months. Its unwavering commitment to stakeholders has remained as the industry has stabilised in the past two years.

The BIBC’s effectiveness lies in its model of holding employee benefits in provision and paying workers directly. This means that the employer is released from the burden of having to find funds to pay the annual leave pay and holiday bonus as the business already pays a proportion of the daily labour rate for this purpose.

Furthermore, the body, which boasts 97 staff dedicated to servicing both employers and employees in the industry, carries tremendous weight in terms of its legislative standing. In addition to the Council’s accreditation with the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), in February 2023, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) issued new regulations to give the BIBC even more power to not only enforce but report under the Pension Funds Act 24 of 1956.

However, the organisation also embraces an approach of trying to help, not seeing employers fall foul of dispute resolution procedures.

According to Hattingh, the BIBC has embarked on multiple projects to ensure fair treatment for all.

This is particularly relevant to employees who, for example, have worked for 30-35 years and suddenly find themselves retrenched. By having their Pension Fund contributions paid over for reinvestment purposes “there is some money to fall back on” in the event of a sudden loss of income.

The organisation is also playing an important role in guiding building industry stakeholders through recent developments that may affect their financial contributions.

One of these recent developments is the ‘two-pot system’, where employees will be able to draw against their retirement funds savings from September 2024. There has been some confusion over the new scheme, but the BIBC has been proactive in gathering valuable information that will be shared at its annual Retirement Fund Members’ information session in late February 2024.

Another development is the National Health Insurance (NHI) plan, but again the Council has pulled out all the stops to establish any potential impacts on beneficiaries and guide them through the process.

Hattingh adds that in 2024 the BIBC will be placing a great deal of focus on increasing membership of employer organisations and trade unions and building these relationships. It will also emphasise the importance of the BIBC as the recognised collection agent that removes holdups in the collection and distribution of employee benefits and party levies.

By registering with the BIBC, we can create a fair and sustainable building industry. We are stronger together.”