Metal industry close to crashing - Neasa

Members of Numsa march for better wages in Cape Town. (Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)
Members of Numsa march for better wages in Cape Town. (Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)
Cape Town - The National Employers' Association of South Africa (Neasa) in a statement on Thursday launched a scathing attack on the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and big business for bringing the industry to its knees.

Numsa is on a national stoppage and demanding for better wages and working conditions in the metal industry.

Numsa wants a 15% wage increase and a R1 000 housing allowance in a one-year bargaining agreement. Read all the demands here.

The strike, which has already hit vehicle manufacturers, threatens to further harm the already frail economy, which was further dragged down by a protracted platinum mining strike.

Government intervention

However, unlike with the platinum strike, the government was quick to facilitate talks to help end the metalworkers’ protest action.

An offer is already on the cards but the details have not been made public.

There are seven employer federations and six unions at the table.

The size of the Steel and Engineering Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) and Numsa, however, means that they mostly determine the outcomes.

The National Employers' Association of South Africa (Neasa), which represents primarily small and medium-size businesses, slammed Seifsa and Numsa.

Stop the violence

It called on Numsa to end protesting violently and stop intimidating workers not participating in the strike.

Since the strike started, 98 protestors have been arrested across the country.

Neasa called on employers not to budge at the negotiating table.

“Employers bowing to the unlawful violence and intimidation are creating a bleak future for themselves. The repeated surrendering to unlawful action has created a Metal Industry in self-destruction mode, an Industry on a downward slope,” said Neasa CEO Gerhard Papenfus.

“We are now paying dearly for those cosy deals between weak employer representatives, big business and big trade unions, over decades, which have brought a once mighty Industry to the brink of destruction.”

Modus operandi

He said Neasa believes the same modus operandi is playing itself out during the current round of negotiations.

“The same model of self-destroying negotiations is once again taking place in these negotiations. The same big employers are pushing for a deal at all cost.

"They are the same big businesses who unashamedly say that they will be satisfied with an unaffordable deal by introducing measures afterwards that will result in retrenchments and mechanisation.”

Papenfus said that these employers, through the help of the minister of labour, will try to force their agreed payment deal on struggling small businesses as well.

Neasa indicated that it will challenge this in matter in court should any deal between Numsa and Seifsa be enforced on the body by the labour minister.

 - Fin24

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