2 July 2014

South Africa: Seifsa Concerned by Shrinking Economy

Photo: Nardus Engelbrecht/Sapa
Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa march for better wages in Cape Town.

Johannesburg — The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA (Seifsa) on Tuesday said it was concerned by the country's shrinking economy caused by strike action.

CEO of Seifsa, Kaizer Nyatsumba, said he was worried about what damage the Numsa strike would have given that each day employees spent away from work cost the industry more than R300 million.

"Ours is a very strategic sector with both upstream and downstream impacts on other important industries like mining, construction and auto manufacturing," said Nyatsumba.

"Therefore, it is not just companies in the sector that are affected or stand to be affected, but it is also those companies in these other industries," he said in a statement shortly after receiving a memorandum from striking Numsa workers in Johannesburg.

Around 220,000 members of Numsa in the steel and metal sector began an indefinite strike for a double digit wage increase on Tuesday.

The union's members marched in Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London, George, and Cape Town.

Nyatsumba said some international companies which had businesses in the country were considering closing their operations and moving them to countries with a more stable labour dispensation.

He said Seifsa was determined to work towards finding a resolution so workers could return to work.

"For the sake of our economy, which has been seriously under-performing and has already taken a considerable hammering as a result of the strike in the platinum sector that ended last week, we hope that it will be
possible for us, employers and labour, to find one another over the next few days," said Nyatsumba.

"This will call for a greater degree of realism on the part of labour in terms of its lofty demands and expectations."

He welcomed the intervention by Labour Minister Mildren Oliphant who met Numsa and Seifsa.

Another meeting was scheduled for Friday.

Copyright © 2014 South African Press Association. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.