Cape Town - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said employers in the engineering sector responded to its 15% wage increase with proposals that will result in a downward variation of the working conditions.
“The demands are almost triple the current inflation rate of 5.3% and come against the backdrop of an economy mired in recession with the unemployment rate at a 14-year high,” Reuters reported on Thursday.
Numsa presented its demands to the employers in the metal and engineering bargaining council on Wednesday, Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi said in a statement on Thursday.
It is demanding a 15% wage increase across the board based on the rate that workers are earning, and not on the minimum rate. It is also demanding an extension of the current agreement for two years and the finalisation of the outstanding issues. In addition, it is demanding the extension of the agreement to non-parties.
However, Hlubi said the employers “have deliberately chosen to propose policies designed to erode all the benefits, which workers fought so hard for”.
“It appears that they are attempting to provoke a deadlock so that strike action is inevitable,” Hlubi said.
Hlubi said Numsa is willing to engage constructively. “However, we will not be coerced into accepting deals which will increase the suffering of our members,” said Hlubi.