220 000 Numsa workers to strike in metal, engineering industries

2014-06-26 14:01

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) will strike in the metals and engineering sector from Tuesday, deputy general secretary Karl Cloete said.

“The national executive committee has agreed to the decision from our members to embark on an indefinite strike action beginning on July 1,” Cloete said in Johannesburg today.

The union’s demands include a 12% wage increase in a one-year bargaining agreement.

Employers have tabled a three-year wage settlement offer of between 7% and 8% for different levels of workers in the first year and CPI-linked increases for next year and in 2016.

Cloete saluted the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union for its five-month platinum mining strike. This should stimulate workers in other sectors to demand a “living wage”, he said.

“It has renewed workers’ battle assertion of ‘an injury to one, an injury to all’.”

The engineering and metals industries strike will affect small, medium and large companies, encompassing more than 220 000 union members at 10 000 workplaces nationwide.

Cloete said a strike in these industries would have a “domino effect” as the metals and engineering companies supplied services and goods which almost all other major industries in the country relied on.

On Wednesday, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA said three months of negotiations had failed to produce a settlement. A deadlock in the talks was declared last month.

The industries’ previous agreement, a three-year deal signed in 2011, will expire on Monday.

Cloete said the union had initially demanded a 15% wage increase but had subsequently revised this to 12%.

“[There will be] no settlement whatsoever unless a double- digit increase is achieved,” he said.

Numsa also resolved to embark on a day of protests and marches next Thursday over its wage deadlock with Eskom.

The union has demanded a 12% across-the-board increase from Eskom in a one-year agreement.

Eskom has offered 5.6%.

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