Metalworkers yet to strike a deal

A renewed offer from employers in the metal and steel industry would be considered by unions this weekend.

Details of the new proposal from the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA)—the body representing employers in the negotiations—are sketchy, but unions said they would begin discussions on the offer on Friday.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), the main union involved in the two week-long industrial action, told the Mail & Guardian on Friday that there were no signs the strike would end soon.

“We have not reached any deal. We’ve had a look at this offer and decided to take it to our people and see if it is the best the employers can do. We will have reached a decision by Sunday at the latest, but I can’t pre-empt anything,” Numsa spokesperson Castro Ngobese said.

Numsa’s comments contradict reports from Seifsa.

Lucio Trentini, operations director at SEIFSA, told Reuters on Friday that a deal had been struck and that employees were expected to return to work on Monday.

Unions were demanding a 13% wage increase and a complete ban on labour brokers, while Seifsa were originally offering a 7% increase.

The strike has in some instances turned violent, with strikers preventing employees willing to work from entering many factory premises across the country.

No end in sight to petrol strike
Meanwhile, there appeared to be no end in sight to the strike in the petrol and chemicals sector.

Workers affiliated to the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood, and Allied Workers’ Union (CEPPWAWU) downed tools on Monday, demanding a 18% wage increase and also calling for the banning of all labour brokers.

Drivers of petrol tankers are involved in the industrial action and over 200 petrol stations—mainly in Gauteng—have run out of fuel.

According to the National Petroleum Employers Association’s, arbitration to end the strike would continue this weekend.

Nickolaus Bauer

Nickolaus Bauer

Nickolaus Bauer is the Mail & Guardian's jack of all trades news reporter that chases down stories ranging from politics and sports to big business and social justice. Armed with an iPad, SLR camera, camcorder and dictaphone, he aims to fight ignorance and pessimism through written words, photographs and videos. He believes South Africa could be the greatest country in the world if only her citizens would give her a chance to flourish instead of dwell on the negativity. When he's not begging his sub-editors for an extra twenty minutes after deadline, he's also known to dabble in the occasional poignant column that will leave you mulling around in the depths of your psyche. The quintessential workaholic, you can also catch him doing sports on the weekday breakfast show on SAfm and presenting the SAfm Sports Special over the weekend. Read more from Nickolaus Bauer

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