NUMSA commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Russian Revolution

Engineering sector is braced for a crushing industrial strike blow

4 June 2007, Posted in Press Releases

The Metal and Engineering industry, entrusted with far-reaching plans for the country’s major infrastructural development programme, looks set to suffer a crushing blow by widespread industrial strike actions, involving 280 000 workers.

This follows a deadlock in wage negotiations between the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), in conjunction with several other unions and Steel Engineering Industry Federation of South Africa (Seifsa).

Numsa has declared a dispute with the Metal Engineering Industry Bargaining Council (Meibc). Tomorrow (Tuesday), Numsa and other unions, including Solidarity will meet with the employers to “unlock the deadlock” which are held under the auspices of Meibc. And, there is all likelihood that the meeting will fail to address the wage demands given the large gap between our demand and the final offer by employers.

This week our mass mobilization campaign begin with preparation for a major offensive against the unscrupulous and ruthless employers who are bent on eroding all the labour unions gains by resisting transformation and labour crusade against poverty wages. At least 150 000 Numsa members are poised to take part in the planned strike action.

The union demanded R10- an- hour wage increase for general workers in grade F-B categories, and R5 increase hourly for those in grade A. The National Bargaining Commission has agreed, however to establish a compulsory five grade structure in the industry.

Employers are sticking to their 5, 5% offer, which is far less than the 6, 3% (CPIX) inflation rates.

Other issues which escalated the wage dispute include a demand by employers for employees who received increases greater than 10% in the past 12 months to be further exempted from any agreed wage increases. Disagreements also centred on the refusal by the employers to employ permanently those contract workers who remained under labour brokers employment or six months. Seifsa also rejected demands calling for improvement of shift allowances, increase overtime premiums and four weeks annual leave.

Establishment of employees share ownership schemes through which employees participated before any broad-based black equity empowerment deals were entered into also remained a source of bitter wrangling in the bargaining commission.

For further information contact:

Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson

Cell phone: 082 9407116

E-mail : mziwakheh@numsa.org.za