South Africa: The Steel Industry Strike Is Over but At a Painful Cost to Workers

analysis

Steel industry workers have lost more than R200m in wages since the strike started on 5 October. The strike could have ended a week ago if Numsa accepted an improved wage offer of 6% from workers. Instead, the trade union insisted on an 8% adjustment.

The crippling strike in the steel and engineering industry is over, with more than 100,000 workers being immediately called back to shop floors at factories across SA that have been abandoned for nearly three weeks.

Arguably, the strike was prolonged unnecessarily and could have ended sooner (in fact, a week earlier), limiting the harm caused to striking steelworkers who have lost more than R200-million in wages since the industrial action started on 5 October. This is because employers implemented a "no work, no pay" policy for striking workers in the steel and engineering industries that are affiliated with the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).

On Thursday 21 October, Numsa accepted an above-inflation wage increase offer of 6% from employers -- a markedly lower-wage adjustment than the 8% that the trade union tabled and doggedly defended.

Employers -- represented by the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) -- improved their offer...

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 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.

X