Workers march in Welkom

2011-07-05 12:38

Striking National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) workers marched to an engineering company in Welkom today to highlight salary and working conditions demands for their members in Free State.

“We will hand over a memorandum of demands at Steeldale Engineering works,” said Numsa regional secretary Andile Zitho.

He said 1 700 workers from the engineering sector participated in the march.

At the weekend, Numsa announced that its members would embark on rolling mass action in demand of a 13% salary increase. Employers in the sector were offering 7%.

The strike started yesterday after the Labour Court dismissed an application over the weekend for an interdict to stop the strike, brought by the Plastic Converters’ Association.

Several trade unions, representing about 170 000 workers, embarked on a countrywide strike, with a massive protest march in Joburg yesterday.
Striking workers handed a memorandum to the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA.

Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal workers also held demonstrations.

Workers would strike “until employers come back to us with something to put on the table,” Ngobese said.

Numsa, which represents about 120 000 workers, would be joined by five other trade unions, jointly representing at least another 50 000 workers.

The Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union announced today that it too was on strike, also seeking a 13% salary increase, among other things.

United Association of SA (Uasa) senior manager Johan van Niekerk said Uasa and the SA Equity Workers’ Association would also participate.

Labour federation Cosatu came out in support of the striking workers, saying that if their actions failed, the federation would mobilise solidarity action.

The Conference of the Democratic Left also issued a solidarity statement, saying workers were being told to curb their wage demands because of economic crisis.

“The bosses, who have caused the crisis, now want to make workers pay for their global crisis and profit squeeze,” it said in the statement.

The Numsa demands include a ban on labour brokers.

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