Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

29 July 2014

South Africa: Numsa Strike - Finish & Klaar, for Now

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

analysis

After over 200,000 National Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) members downed tools in the metals and engineering sector at the beginning of July, the union has finally made a deal with employer bodies. Now you can expect more talk about how to avoid protracted strikes in the future. By GREG NICOLSON.

"The settlement offer has been overwhelmingly and unanimously accepted by our members," said Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim on Monday, marking the end of another strike in 2014. He was speaking at the union's Johannesburg headquarters and wearing a slouched, wide-brim hat. Jim said the deal is a "massive victory" for workers.

The three-year agreement, to be signed on Tuesday, includes an annual 10% increase for the lowest paid workers. Higher-paid workers will get increases of 8%. The majority of Numsa's members are in the lower grades. Employers agreed to discourage and minimise the use of labour brokers and give shop stewards sufficient time off to attend to union and industry matters and pay workers short time through a specific fund.

"We reflected on the strike the whole day yesterday, the impact on the economy, the impact on our members... and we had a resounding mandate that we should settle,"...

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