National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is studying a new offer from the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (Seifsa).
The revised wage offer comes after Numsa deadlocked with employers last week during wage negotiations.
Numsa is demanding an 8% increase across the board for the first year and a CPI + 2% improvement factor for the second and third years.
Last week, shop floors at steel factories and within the engineering sector were left empty as thousands of workers attended rallies in Durban, Northern Cape, Johannesburg, Eastern Cape and Western Cape.
“Members are deliberating on a wage proposal made by Seifsa. We are currently receiving responses from regions on the proposal,” said Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola.
Even if Numsa accepts Seifa’s new offer, it’s unlikely to end deep-seated issues in the steel industry.
National Employers’ Association of South Africa (Neasa) remains strongly opposed to the “one-size-fits-all” approach pursued by competing employer federations, Seifsa and Numsa.
“We are of the unwavering view that every individual business should determine the levels of remuneration for its employees, based on its unique circumstances and financial ability,” said Gerhard Papenfus, Neasa’s chief executive.
Neasa is the largest employer body in the steel industry. Neasa said the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council’s (MEIBC’s) collective bargaining is mainly for big businesses in South Africa’s economic hubs.
“Wage deals that take place primarily between MEIBC and Numsa are extended to SMMEs operating under entirely different economic and operational circumstances,” said Papenfus.
Papenfus has called for “an entirely fresh collective bargaining model in the steel industry”.
“One that accommodates many different agreements between the parties,” he said.