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Numsa strike enters its fourth week

24 July, 2014Over 200,000 members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) working in the engineering sector are now entering the fourth week of industrial action, which began on 1 July 2014.

“The strike continues and has not been suspended.  Our members, at the coal face of the strike will make the final decision on whether to end the strike or not,” says Castro Ngobese, national spokesperson for IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, Numsa. 

Workers are demanding double-digit wage increases of 10 to 12 per cent for three years, scrapping of labour brokers and a housing allowance.  They also want a section in the Main Agreement removed to end discriminatory practices by employers giving allowances and other benefits to higher-paid workers.

Media reports on 21 July 2014 say that the employers’ association, the Steel and Engineering Federation of South Africa (Seifsa), has conditionally accepted a wage proposal for a 10 per cent increase in each of the three years, in an arrangement facilitated by the Department of Labour (DoL).

It is unclear whether further proposals made by the government on labour brokers have been accepted by employers, including a clause saying “Employees engaged by a labour broker and placed in employment in industry on a temporary, permanent or permanent outsourced basis shall be entitled to all terms and conditions of employment as contained in the Main Agreement, including all Social Security Benefits from day one of employment.”

A special National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting has been held by Numsa in Johannesburg this week to deliberate the proposed settlement offer. After the meeting, the union will report back to members for their consideration and mandate.  It is only after this consultation that an announcement can be made on whether a deal has been reached.

The NEC appreciated the resoluteness and unwavering firmness of workers in demand of a living wage,” said Ngobese. “The NEC was humbled by the numerous messages of support and solidarity we continue to receive on daily basis from our allies here at home and abroad.”