NUMSA commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Russian Revolution

Numsa declared a dispute in the steel and engineering over 4,7 wage offer.

22 June 2004, Posted in Press Releases

DATE: 22 June 2004

Johannesburg Press release – for immediate release


Yesterday, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) declared a formal dispute against the Steel Engineering Industry Federation Of South Africa (SEIFSA) pitiable 4,7 wage offer for 310 000 workers in Steel and Engineering industry. The union is demanding 12% across the board.

The average 4,7% wage increase is wretchedly small, a starvation pittance. The current increase effectively amount to a wage cut. Workers have been prejudiced. On this basis, NUMSA will vigorously stick to its 12% demand, mobilize effectively and with constant magnitude strike to improve the quality of wages in the industry. We want the employer federation to break the impasse by giving a wage increase that will be sustainable given the increase in petrol price and high level of casualisation of workers. SEIFSA has failed the test because the challenge now is to seek ways to promote better relations and development of the workforce in a manner that overcomes the legacy of the apartheid workplaces.

Unless the dispute is expeditiously resolved, we remain on constant course to strike at the end. The strike will affect many industries in the metal industry if there is no quick and creative resolution on the dispute. We want the employers to completely move away from nefarious agenda of paying workers pittances. We are not carried away by the fact that inflation is low. The question is whether the 4,7% percentage increase is real and matches with the current living standard in the economy. Clearly, the 4,7% is unachievable and falls below the economic standards. Wages in the industry have not bettered or improved in an imperceptible degree because of high rate of job losses.

The wages in the industry deviated from the actual practice and do not correspond with the actual salaries of workers. The union must ultimately take action because workers are struggling to get real wage increases. We remain unapologetic but determined to increase the earning power of workers. At the heart of the dispute is for employers to grant real wage pay. The strike will be our ultimate weapon because the income gaps are growing.

The unfairness of this situation, combined with the steady erosion in the buying power of steel and engineering workers wages manifest in bitterness for workers to strike. Even the current food prices and transport costs are also skewed against workers. The average rise in commodity prices has ultimately resulted in general fall in the wage increases. We want to foster changes in the industry so that workers are paid respectable and decent wages. We firmly believe that SEIFSA has been guided by shortsightedness in responding to the wage increases.

For further information please contact Dumisa Ntuli -@ (011) 689 1700 or 0829737282