Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

8 July 2014

South Africa: Numsa, Violence and Regulating Resolutions

analysis

As negotiations are under way to resolve Numsa's week-long strike in the metals and engineering sector, reports of violence have prompted a rethink on how to legislate industrial action. Finding the balance, however, between the right to work, the right to strike and the right to safety isn't easy. And then there's the economy to consider.

Numsa's 220,000 workers in the metals and engineering industry have been on strike for a week, costing the economy an estimated R300 million a day, halting work at General Motors, interrupting construction at Eskom's Medupi and Kusile sites, and causing rating agency Moody's to warn SA may face a credit rating downgrade.

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa), the biggest employer negotiator, said Numsa has rejected its latest offer of wage increases of up to 10% for the lowest paid workers in a three-year deal which would reduce to 9% in the second year and 8% in the third. The union wants 15% and a one-year deal.

The Department of Labour held meetings with the different stakeholders over the weekend and reported progress in discussions. On Monday, spokesperson Mokgadi Pela told Jacaranda News there was a meeting...

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