End of steel strike confirmed as Numsa inks 6% wage deal

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Numsa has accepted a 6% wage offer from Seifsa.
Numsa has accepted a 6% wage offer from Seifsa.
Sharon Seretlo/Gallo Images via Getty Images

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has accepted a wage offer of 6%, bringing the strike in the metals and engineering sector to an end.

Numsa secretary general Irvin Jim made the announcement during a press briefing on Thursday afternoon. The trade union had met with the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) on Thursday morning when it accepted the offer based on minimum rates set by the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council Main Agreement.

The agreement was signed on Thursday afternoon and will be implemented with immediate effect, said Jim. Workers will receive backpay to 1 July 2021.

Numsa members had embarked on a strike on 5 October. Jim said that the strike will now end and workers are to return to work from Friday. The latest day to return to work is Monday, 25 October.

The agreement is as follows: 6% in the first year, 6% in the second year and 6% on a moving base for the third year.

Workers in higher grades will receive an increase of between 5% and 5.5% on their scheduled rates of pay.

The agreement will benefit all workers in the metals and engineering sector, Jim said. "Numsa will not rest until all workers receive this increase, so that they can have a living wage," he added.

Earlier on Thursday, Seifsa postponed a briefing related to the wage agreement. The federation said in a statement that it was "immensely pleased that the strike is finally over". 

"It is now incumbent on all stakeholders in the metals and engineering sector to work collectively to rebuild and grow the sector. The sector has a very important role to play in the delivery of the Government’s ambitious economic recovery programme over the next few years, and that can happen only when a strong partnership exists between business and labour," said Seifsa CEO Lucio Trentini. 

Seifsa described the wage deal as a "landmark" agreement. 

* This story has been updated with Seifsa's comment.

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