News / South Africa / Protests

Thapelo Lekabe
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
20 Oct 2021
11:26 am

Numsa to hold special meeting to decide on fate of steel-sector strike

Thapelo Lekabe

Numsa members rejected the final 6% wage offer made by Seifsa after wage talks deadlocked.

Numsa workers marched from the Mary Fitzgerald Square to the Metals Engineering Industries Bargaining Council office in Marshalltown on 6 October 2021. Picture for illustration: Masego Mafata

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is expected to hold a special meeting of its national executive committee (NEC) on Wednesday to decide on the way forward regarding its national strike in the engineering sector.

This is after Numsa members rejected the final 6% wage offer made by the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (Seifsa) after wage talks deadlocked on resolving the strike that is currently in its third week.

“At 5pm all Numsa regions will be meeting this afternoon for a special NEC. That NEC will make a determination on the way forward for the strike,” Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola told The Citizen.

ALSO READ: Ongoing Numsa strike could derail SA’s economic recovery plan

Hlubi-Majola said their members rejected the wage offer from the employer association because it was based on minimums, and not on the actual rates of pay.

She said the union agreed with the Seifsa on the percentage increase, but disagreed on how it would be applied, and this was something they believed employers could afford to compromise on.

“The reason why we had to call this meeting is because Seifsa made it clear this 6% minimum increase is a final offer as part of a communiqué to their members saying they are going to impose it starting today,” Hlubi-Majola said.

CCMA meeting

Hlubi-Majola confirmed the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Wednesday morning would be mediating between parties in an attempt to assist with resolving the strike.

“All unions, Numsa, Solidarity, Mewusa [Metal And Electrical Workers Union of South Africa], UASA [United Association of South Africa] and SAEWA [South African Equity Workers Association] are participating in talks with employer associations Seifsa, National Employers Association of South Africa and the CEO.

“Seifsa is the only employer association that is not part of the mediation because it is hopeful it can settle the strike with us outside of this process,” she said in a statement.

At the same time, Numsa called on its striking members to continue to picket peacefully at workplaces and to adhere to picketing rules at all times. This after the national strike was marred by violence and threats of intimidation against non-striking workers.

“We urge them not to participate in acts of criminality and unlawfulness because it exposes them to possible disciplinary action by employers.

“We have also received disturbing reports of police brutality where workers have been fired on with rubber bullets by police or private security. We condemn the actions of rogue police and security officers.”

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