Bosses to continue lockout of workers despite Cosatu, Numsa threats

2014-07-31 12:20

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Members of the National Employers’ Association of SA (Neasa) will continue their lockout of workers who took part in the recent metal industry protest despite threats, they said.

Neasa was adamant that its members’ decision to lock out workers would stand despite threats from the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu), spokesperson Sya van der Walt-Potgieter said today.

She said Numsa and Cosatu in the Western Cape had threatened to close down companies participating in the lockout.

Numsa had threatened to take Neasa to court if it did not suspend the lockout of its members.

Van der Walt-Potgieter said the lockout was legal and enjoyed the same constitutional protection as the right to strike.

Neasa chief executive Gerhard Papenfus said companies in the metal industry had endured a violent four-week strike. Employees had been prevented through violence and intimidation from working.

“There were instances where employees were dragged out of offices and assaulted.”

Numsa stood for a one-sided form of democracy.

“They are very quick to claim the benefits of their version of democracy and very quick to point out any so-called undemocratic behaviour.”

Papenfus said the differences would not be resolved through threats and legal action, but through appropriate channels.

On Tuesday, six unions in the metals and engineering sector signed a wage deal with most employers.

Neasa refused to sign the offer, saying it had been sidelined in the negotiation process facilitated by the labour department.

As a result, Neasa, which has 22 members and employs about 70 000 workers, continued its lockout.

More than 200 000 Numsa members in the metals and engineering sector downed tools on July 1, demanding a salary increase of 12%, down from their prestrike demand of 15%. They then revised their demand to 10%.

They also demanded a R1 000 housing allowance and a ban on labour brokers.

In terms of the new wage deal, workers will get increases of between 8% and 10% depending on whether they were high or low earners.

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