Numsa strikes on steel


On 14 October, thousands of Numsa members as well as workers from other sectors and community members marched together in Johannesburg against corruption and in support of jobs.

The one day strike was legal after successfully declaring a dispute at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), South Africa’s tripartite social dialogue forum. Demands with respect to the jobs crisis in South Africa related to an impasse in dialogue on the need for protection and support in the steel sector.

Numsa has been demanding locally produced and manufactured steel as opposed to imported steel be used in Government infrastructure builds including state owned enterprises capital programmes. The union wants a strategic approach to steel to be taken in the proposed Government’s Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIPs) as a lever to drive local procurement.

Numsa also has continued to argue against Import Parity Price (IPP) and for fair pricing based to some extent on a regulated steel price. The union wants the South African government to take forward its beneficiation strategy including banning steel scrap exports as half of all raw material used in steel is currently being imported.

Numsa as called for government to set up a high level tripartite steel crisis committee with all government, labour and industry players to develop short and long term interventions for sustainability of the industry and jobs.

The strike action included demands against corruption more broadly and enjoyed popular support with many people joining in solidarity with Numsa and to draw government’s attention to a range of burning issues.