Eric Naki
Political Editor
2 minute read
13 Sep 2016
5:30 pm

NUM settles for 35% wage increase

Eric Naki

The union also accepted the auto employers' suggestion for a yearly increase on the current transport allowance of R1.2k per year.

FILE PICTURE: National Union of Metal Workers in South Africa (NUMSA) secretary general Irvin Jim addresses members in Durban, 1 July 2014, during a nation wide strike. Picture: Phumlani Thabethe

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA is ready to settle at a 35 percent wage increase to be spread over three years in car assembly plants throughout the country.

Numsa’s general secretary, Irvin Jim, said yesterday that workers had mandated union negotiators to take the 35 percent rise the employers had put on the table and that would be staggered over three years. The union also accepted the auto employers’ suggestion for an annual increase on the current transport allowance of R1 200 per year, a shift allowance that increases from 20% and 23% between now and 30 June 2019.

Employers agreed to develop a housing solution with a once-off subsidy of R5 000 and a further R500 monthly subsidy.

Jim says while things went smoothly with vehicle assemblers with no strike and the union mandated to settle, a strike was looming on the related components sector because employers there were unwilling to come to the party.

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“We wish to inform bosses in the sectors where negotiations are going on to come to the party and make meaningful offers. We will move very swiftly from now onwards to mobilise workers to push employers in sectors still negotiating to swiftly complete the current round of negotiations,” Jim said.

The motor sector covers panel-beaters, filling stations, motor component manufacturers, auto, tyre and rubber, metal and engineering, cable, chemicals battery and Nampak and BHP Billiton. The union said Nampak , the Plastic Converters Association of SA and electric cable manufacturers want to opt out of the national bargaining chamber, but the union leadership has rejected the idea, saying it is tantamount to an attack on centralised bargaining.

“A collapsed bargaining council will be devastating for workers, particularly as employers will not collect retirement funds for workers,” Jim said.

But Jim was optimistic that a settlement could be reached soon at Eskom, which offered a two-year agreement of a 10 percent increase for the lowest paid and 8.5 percent for the highest paid. He said the union was busy consulting with its structures.

He appealed to the CEOs of the motor assembly sector to talk their auto sector counterparts to settle by offering better increases, as the strike in the auto industry could adversely affect the assembly plants, as there would be no components to supply during the pending strike.