Numsa hardens heart, holds out for 13% increase

The strike in the engineering sector would be intensified until employers met what unions said were “reasonable” demands.

National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim said on Sunday that the negotiating parties had begun to take one another seriously.

“It’s a process that is under way, [and] we will report back to members about it. At an appropriate time we will be able to know what is the status of that process,” Jim said after the union’s national executive committee meeting on Sunday.

He said the employers should be moving with speed to resolve the dispute instead of embarking on “psychological violence”.

“Employers have bombarded unions with the view of labour-output ratio comparisons between South Africa and China. They claim that South African workers are paid four times higher and are two to five times less productive than their Chinese counterparts.”

Jim said employers should not use skills training as leverage to justify underpaying workers, and challenged the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation to ensure that workers obtained the necessary skills to make them as competitive as their international counterparts.

Also of concern to the union were reports that directors received 23% salary increases this year and bonus hikes of up to 56%, while workers struggled with lower salaries and the high cost of living.

The strike in the engineering sector entered its second week on Sunday.

The union is demanding a 13% salary increase.
while employers are offering 7%. - Sapa

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