Numsa ultimatum ends today

2011-07-07 09:00

Striking engineering workers have given employers until the end of today to respond to their wage demands, the National Union of Metalworkers SA (Numsa) announced today.

“On Monday, when we handed over the memorandum, we gave them three days to respond to us and if they fail to do so, we will consider calling on (Cosatu) to support this strike action,” said spokesman Castro Ngobese.

“We hope they will respond ... our doors are always open. They must understand that what they offered us is a drop in the ocean.”

He said no negotiations or talks had taken place since Monday, when several trade unions, representing about 170 000 workers, embarked on a countrywide strike.

The Steel and Engineering Industries’ Federation of SA (Seifsa) has said it cannot afford the 13% wage increase being demanded by the union.

Employers in the sector have offered 7%.

Yesterday, Numsa’s Free State regional secretary Andile Zitho said the 13% was a matter of life and death, as it was not enough to cushion workers against increases in the costs of food, electricity, education, water and fuel.

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said the engineering strike was only the beginning of the workers’ fight for a living wage.

“All sectors ultimately will be affected. It’s a campaign that we have dedicated this year and the larger part of next year to, to fight for a living wage,” he said.

Seifsa executive director, David Carson, was not immediately available for comment. 

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