The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) members working at the state owned weapons manufacturing enterprise, DENEL (Pretoria Press Metals; PMP) are continuing with their protected strike action to bring to an end the system of apartheid wage inequalities and disparities.
The wage regime at DENEL is characterised by highly racialised wage inequalities and disparities among workers who fall within the same grades in a 17-grades structure. This dates back from the apartheid era whereby in particular Africans were pressed down to constitute the black bottom and whites were showered with privileges leading to higher wages compared to blacks even if they performed same jobs.
The driver of the wage inequalities and disparities is the legacy of subjective and discriminatory practice whereby unexplained increases were selectively given to certain sections of the workforce. This situation is so bad to the extent that there are workers who are in lower grades but who earn far above others who are in higher grades, thereby rendering the grading structure null and void.
As Numsa we are determined to bring to an end these inequalities. At present the DENEL’s intransigence has pushed the union to intensify the strike action as a mechanism of last resort while engagements are taking place.
We call on the management at DENEL to realise that the wage inequalities are unsustainable and to accede to workers’ demands for wage equalisation. The failures by DENEL oligarchy to concede to our legitimate demands we will be forced to halt operations until our demands are met.