Numsa out in force

2014-07-01 00:00

METAL workers union Numsa say they have spent R200 000 to hire 50 buses to ensure as many workers as possible take to Durban’s streets today.

Workers — Numsa said they are expecting 10 000 — are expected to march down Dr Pixley ka Seme Street to the city hall where a memorandum of demands will be handed to the engineering sector employer agency, the National Employers Association of South Africa and the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa).

Nearly 20 key automotive component manufacturers around the country have already been preparing for months for the Numsa strike.

National Association of Automotive and Allied Manufacturers spokesperson Ken Manners said about 20 automotive component manufacturers were likely to be affected by the strike, but they had prepared for it.

“They [the manufacturers] will probably be okay for a short strike period of a week or two,” said Manners.

A prolonged strike might also affect other parts of the motor industry, such as the vehicle assemblers, said Manners.

Toyota’s manufacturing operation in Prospecton was not expected to be directly affected by the strike, but its operations might be indirectly impacted through strikes at its component suppliers, Toyota South Africa spokesperson Mary Willemse said yesterday.

In Pietermaritzburg, one of the city’s biggest employers, Hulamin, is not expecting to be impacted directly by the strike, as the aluminium downstream product maker has a negotiated a three-year wage agreement with trade unions.

But other steel industry companies that operate in the city, such as BSI Steel, will be affected, a spokesperson of BSI confirmed yesterday.

Mbuso Ngubane, Numsa provincial spokesperson, said by yesterday early afternoon they had already hired more than 50 buses in addition to minibus taxis that will be ferrying members from as far as Newcastle.

Ngubane said there has been no change in their demands for better working conditions, better pay, and the banning of labour brokers.

He said their members will be coming from Newcastle, Ladysmith, Dundee, Pietermaritzburg, Durban, and ­Pinetown.

The duration of the strike will be determined by the employers’ reasoning with the employees’ demand, said ­Ngubane.

“We don’t know how long the strike will last. We are not backing down from our demand. The strike will be indefinite,” he said.

The Witness reported last week that the union demanded a 15% salary increase across the board, while the employer offered a seven percent all-inclusive, cost-of-employment increase in 2014 and a CPI plus zero percent increase in 2015 and 2016 respectively for Rate A and an eight percent all-inclusive, cost-of-employment increase in 2014 and a CPI plus one percent increase in 2015 and 2016 respectively for Rate H.

In an e-mail yesterday afternoon, Seifsa’s communication manager Ollie Madlala said the federation’s senior management was locked in a meeting.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said, “Public order police will be deployed to monitor the proceedings. They will work together other security agencies that will be liaising with the organisers of the march. For security reasons we cannot release figures of our deployment”.

Meanwhile, it was also reported that formal businesses and hawkers who operate on Pixley ka Seme Street were concerned about their safety after a taxi industry strike turned violent early last month.

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