When will the Numsa strike end?

A group of strikers wearing Numsa t-shirts invade the premises of a business in Gauteng. (Screen grab, submitted by Fin24 user)
A group of strikers wearing Numsa t-shirts invade the premises of a business in Gauteng. (Screen grab, submitted by Fin24 user)
Cape Town - Workers not affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) are being forced to stay away from work as a wage strike spirals out of control.

Some small business owners are worried about their companies and the well-being of their employees.

"I don’t know how myself and my 15 staff members are going to feed our families at the end of this month," said one owener.

He said his company does contract work for a well known company who sponsors, schools, clinics and medical containers to informal settlements.

None of his employees are Numsa members, but they can’t come to work because strikers came twice to his workshop.

He said all of his staff was removed from the premises.

"They were forced to join the march and were told if they return to work they will be removed with violence."

Another small business owner told Fin24 that he and his staff were forced to leave after coming under attack.  

"We were forced to leave under police escort despite non-Numsa members working," he said.

"We were threatened that we could be attacked overnight if we continue working."

He said that three vehicles were damaged with stones and bricks and two gates, including the intercom and gate camera were also destroyed.

A family-owned engineering business has also been affected by the strike.

"We have three employees who are not affiliated to unions. Our workers have not been able to come to work since the start of the strike."

He said one employee tried to continue working.

"We went and fetched him at his home, but the next day he phoned and indicated that some union members threatened him and his family should he come to work again.  

"There are many companies that have closed permanently as a result of the strikes. Is this what the government wants?"

He said that union leaders are reaping their salaries, while their members and their families are suffering.  

"When is this nonsense going to end? I am fed up."

The strike has also impacted on a small business not in the metals industry.

"Numsa representatives were escorted on our premises by two officers of the South African Police Service (Saps)."

He said the officers instructed the employee to open the gates and let them in for an inspection.

"They were checking if there were any workers not complying with threats made. This is scandalous."

 - Fin24
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