Numsa awaits strike talks feedback

Numsa members protesting in Durban. (Photo: Khaya Ngwenya)
Numsa members protesting in Durban. (Photo: Khaya Ngwenya)

Johannesburg - The national executive committee (NEC) of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) is to receive feedback from the department of labour facilitated negotiations, spokesperson Castro Ngobese said on Wednesday.

After this, all nine Numsa regions would meet to give members feedback and decide on mandates for what should constitute a resolution of the strike.

The labour department has facilitated meetings between Numsa and employers' associations in an attempt to resolve the strike, which began last Tuesday. Ngobese said he could not disclose details of those meetings.

Numsa wants a 15% wage increase and a R1 000 housing allowance in a one-year bargaining agreement.

On Thursday, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA (Seifsa) tabled a three-year wage offer of between 8% and 10% for different levels of workers in the first year.

The first category of worker was offered 7% in 2015 and 2016, while the others were offered 9% in the second year, and 8% in the final year.

The employers' organisation, representing 27 independent employer associations with a membership of over 2000 companies, also scrapped its demand for the wages of entry-level workers to be halved.

The National Employers' Association of SA (Neasa) has offered 8%, subject to an agreement on the reduction of the entry-level wage.

Seifsa and Neasa have complained the strike has been marked by violence and intimidation.

On Tuesday, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega's office said that in Gauteng alone 53 people were arrested on a single day for strike-related offences.

"The national commissioner does not object to anyone exercising their right to protest, but the law clearly states that this must be done procedurally, unarmed and in a peaceful manner," Lt-Col Solomon Makgale said.

Phiyega had requested a meeting with Numsa leaders to discuss her concerns about violence accompanying the strike.

In Rustenburg, North West, 13 strikers were arrested on Tuesday when a picket outside an engineering centre turned violent. Protesters threw stones at the building and broke a number of windows.

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