26 June 2014

South Africa: Government Wants to Stop Numsa Strike

Cape Town — The metals and engineering sector will receive government support to ensure a planned strike does not go ahead, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said on Thursday.

Prolonged strikes had to be avoided, she told reporters following Cabinet's fortnightly meeting on Wednesday.

"The employers and labour movement must be able to resolve the negotiations speedily so as to avoid such problems," she said.

"On the issue of Numsa, definitely this is the call that we are making and we are going to support all the affected parties to make sure that the strike doesn't take place."

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) wants a 15 percent wage increase, while employers, such as the National Employers Association of SA, are offering a 6.5 percent increase.

The strike, planned for the beginning of July, was not directly discussed during the Cabinet meeting.

Cabinet welcomed the end of the five-month strike in the platinum mining sector and the end of damage to South Africa's economy.

"The prolonged strike had dire negative effects on workers, employers, and our economy as a whole," Muthambi said.

"Cabinet appeals to both employers and the labour movement to resolve negotiations speedily and to avoid such prolonged strikes."

The success of government's development programmes depended on a stable and thriving economy.

On the recent downgrading of the country's credit ratings by agencies Standard and Poor's and Fitch, Muthambi said Cabinet "was alive to the growth challenges" facing the country.

"Government has prioritised the accelerated implementation of the National Development Plan, with reforms that are aimed at unlocking South Africa's growth potential."

Further, it intended improving the regulatory environment, reducing skills shortages, and accelerating its infrastructure investment programme as part of removing obstacles to growth.

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