The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) has said it will be going ahead with a plan for a nationwide strike which will continue until all their demands are met.
Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says the union is calling for a strike that will take place on Tuesday, 5 October 2021. She says the Metals and Engineering Industry’s bargaining council, with which the new wage deal negotiations are being discussed, represents approximately 430 000 workers. She believes the strike will affect most engineering companies in South Africa.
She explains that NUMSA is deadlocked with the employer associations at the MEIBC, as an agreement on wages has not yet been made. She says they have taken a rigid view of the demands placed on the table by the union.
Hlubi-Majola said the union has already adjusted their demands. They initially wanted a one-year agreement but accepted a multi-year agreement. NUMSA originally demanded 15% but has reduced its demand to 8% for the first year and CPI + 2% for the second and third years. She says it’s very important that they help the workers achieve some of their wage demands.
She said, “We feel very strongly that, particularly in this sector, where thousands of workers are paid very very low wages, many of them are not being paid the minimum rate of R49 per hour and workers in this engineering sector have made many sacrifices in order to prop up the industry and support the industry during Covid. We feel that the offer that employers have put on the table does not take that into account”.
“We are urging them [employers] to come back to the table to negotiate if it is in their interests to save the economy if they care about workers they'll talk to us”. Concluded Hlubi-Majola.