The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) will be embarking on a national strike in the engineering sector.
Workers will begin marching to the Metals and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) offices on Tuesday morning as part of the first day of action.
There are planned marches for the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, while rallies are expected to be held in the Western Cape.
“Despite our best efforts, we regret that our attempt to push SEIFSA to make a meaningful offer led to negotiations collapsing last night,” said Numsa general-secretary Irvin Jim.
Jim accused engineering bosses of being selfish and benefitting from last year’s standstill agreement when increases were put on hold to cushion the industry from the effects of Covid-19.
“Now that we are re-negotiating this year and it is time for them to give back, the bosses have conveniently forgotten about the painful sacrifices which workers and their families made for the engineering sector,” said Jim.
He accused employers of “not budging” or making any meaningful offers.
“We are demanding that employers put an 8% increase across the board for the first year and CPI + 2% improvement factor for the second and third year,” he said.
“If CPI + 2% falls below 6%, employers must offer 6% or re-open negotiations. This will break the deadlock and avert a strike.”
The sector employs at least 430,000 workers.
Trade unions Mewusa and UASA have also requested strike certificates for their members.
The strike is legally protected, which means that all workers in engineering can participate without fear of being disciplined, whether they are a member of the union or not.
Numsa also rejected accusations that its strike would threaten the country’s economic recovery.
“If anyone is threatening our economic recovery, it is these selfish employers who are rampant exploiters and who give nothing back to workers, whose labour is the key to the success of the organisation!” he insisted.
Numsa said it had spent the weekend engaging with all employer associations to avert the strike and hopefully come up with an agreement best for all parties.
Numsa is still open to negotiations, but the strike is continuing as planned, it said.
“We have been mobilising our members in different regions in preparation for the strike.”
Details for the marches are below:
Assembly point: Mary Fitzgerald Square Johannesburg
Destination: 42 Anderson Street Johannesburg
Time: 9 am
Assembly point: King Dinizulu Park in Berea Durban
Destination: Durban City Hall, Anton Lembede Street, Durban
Representatives from employer associations will receive the memorandum
Time: 9 am
Assembly point: Nangoza Jebe (Centenary Hall) Gqeberha
Destination: Ntshekisa street, New Brighton, Gqeberha.
Western Cape Rallies
Venue: Kasselsvlei Hall, Bellville South
Venue: Thembalethu Baptist Church in George, 2460 Mayibuye St, Thembalethu, George, 6529
Assembly point: Manny Taxi rank in Welkom
Destination: Baffotech (A company part of SAEFA)
(Compiled by Narissa Subramoney)