14 July 2014

South Africa: The Numsa Strike in Five Key Issues

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

Two weeks into their strike, the country's biggest union, the National Union of Metalworkers SA (Numsa), has rejected the latest wage offer in the metals and engineering industry. On Sunday, it said its 220,000 striking members plan to intensify the industrial action, which is making a dent in the beleaguered economy. GREG NICOLSON breaks the situation down.

The Money

Both Numsa, which is the largest union in the bargaining process, and the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA (Seifsa), the largest employer body, have made concessions on their demands and offers, but the parties still can't reach a deal. The union has rejected what Seifsa CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba said was its "very last offer", a three-year deal offering the lowest paid categories 10%, 9.5% and 9% increases over three years and higher paid workers 8%, 7.5% and 7%. The offer was made after consultations with the Department of Labour and Nyatsumba said it was higher than the employers wanted to pay but was offered to try to end the strike. If rejected, it would be taken off the table, said Nyatsumba.

Numsa is clear: it wants double-digit increases. It's pushing for a one-year deal with 10% but said it...

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