Numsa has accepted the latest wage offer and has ordered striking workers to return to work today, bringing a partial end to the four-week-long strike in the metal and engineering industries.
The final wage offer by the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) is a 10% wage increase every year for the union’s lowest paid members for the next three years. It was also agreed that employees engaged by labour brokers will continue to be entitled to all the terms and conditions of employment as contained in the Main Agreement. In order to enforce this, the MEIBC will employ labour broker compliance officers who will act on complaints of abuse and non-compliance from labour brokers.
The union also negotiated a formulation of the S37 provision of the MEIBC Main Agreement which Numsa confident is legally sound and not disadvantageous to Numsa. Although Seifsa’s preferred wording on Section 37 was not accepted by the union, the federation’s council was satisfied that a compromise wording reached over the weekend would protect companies from two-tier bargaining.
Numsa said that the latest offer is “a product of sweat and bitter struggles by our toiling workers for a living wage.” The union believes the settlement package that our members have will go some way in addressing the challenges faced by workers on a daily basis.
Seifsa Chief Executive Officer Kaizer Nyatsumba said, “We are immensely relieved that the strike is finally over. It is now incumbent on all stakeholders in the metals and engineering sector to work cooperatively together to grow the sector and to ensure that it is internationally competitive. The sector has a very important role to play in the delivery of the government’s ambitious infrastructure development programme over the next few years, and that can happen only when a strong partnership exists between business and labour.”
Neasa has not accepted offer
Despite the agreement reached with Seifsa, the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (Neasa) has continued with its lockout, rejecting the 10% wage offer.
Neasa has said that it is “extremely dissatisfied” with the settlement that Seifsa, Numsa and five other unions entered into.
Neasa has reiterated that the settlement will only serve to further destabilise the industry. “Through this settlement Seifsa has agreed to a wage increase of 3.4% above inflation for three years. Seifsa has ‘reluctantly’ agreed to this settlement and admitted that it will inevitable result in ‘massive job losses’. Therefore, how can anyone refer to this settlement as one which will bring stability to the industry? This is nothing else than an arrangement which will speed up the demise of the metal industry, causing worsened unemployment and poverty and therefore socio-economic instability,” said Neasa Chief Executive Gerhard Papenfus.
Neasa has offered an 8% increase across the board.