The dispute settlement agreement followed the same development as the above-mentioned agreement on administrative costs. However, in July 2017, NEASA was party to a new dispute settlement agreement to allow members access to the MEIBC Dispute Resolution Centre. This new agreement required NEASA members to pay an increased dispute resolution fee. The extension of the old 2011 administrative fees agreement replaced this new dispute settlement agreement and effectively reduced the dispute settlement fee to the 2011 rate. This only serves to remind you of the current state of the agreements within the competence of the MEIBC. If the agreement is published in the Official Journal of government, it becomes legally binding on all employers active in the sector and on workers falling within the scope of the main agreement. Hence the next important question. Both agreements have been extended to non-parties and employers are required to contribute under these agreements. At present, there is no extended master agreement applicable to NEASA members. The last extended agreement expired in 2011 and any subsequent extensions or attempted extensions were either cancelled during the audit or prevented by NEASA from contacting the Minister of Employment and Labour, as the application was itself deemed invalid. We believe that there is currently no prospect of a legitimate request for renewal of the main agreement, which will reach the Minister of Employment and Labour without the support of NEASA.
The main agreement is a collective agreement between the employers` organisations and the trade unions which form the metallurgy and mechanical engineering bargaining council. The agreement provides for comprehensive employment conditions for some 320,000 planned workers (including workers provided by employment agencies) employed in more than 10,000 companies in the sector. « scheduled workers » means employees covered by the technical calendars of the main agreement. The current MEIBC « Main » agreement, which governs the general conditions of the sector and has not been extended to non-parties, expires in July 2020. We expect negotiations on this agreement to begin in February 2020. Neasa will seek a mandate from members in early 2020 to prepare for these negotiations. As always, in these negotiations, we will vigorously promote the interests of employers. If these negotiations result in an anti-economic agreement between the unions and other employers, we will resume the fight to prevent such an agreement from being extended to our members. The last « new » administrative cost agreement, extended to non-parties, expired in 2015 and all attempts since then have been either set aside or blocked. However, due to recent amendments to the Employment Relations Act specifically aimed at limiting NEASA`s ability to prevent the renewal of funding agreements, the Minister of Employment and Labour relaunched an old 2011 agreement and extended it to non-parties from 28 October 2019 for a period of 12 months. Therefore, in accordance with our advance notification, members are again required to deduct and pay administrative taxes and litigation fees at 2011 rates. We asked the Ministry of Employment and Labour for the reasons for this decision in order to consider our options.