Johannesburg - The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) will decide on its next steps soon, as the metals and engineering sector strike moved into its seventh day on Tuesday.
“The Numsa bargaining team had been engaged in further negotiations with Seifsa through the mediated efforts of the department of labour with latest talks (taking) place on Monday evening,” spokesman Castro Ngobese said in a statement.
As such, the union was engaging in the following consultative and mandating processes:
* A special national executive committee (NEC) meeting would take place on Tuesday so the NEC could receive feedback from the negotiations.
This would enable all nine Numsa regions to convene regional feedback and mandating meetings with members.
* The regional feedback and mandating meetings would then take place on Wednesday, to inform striking members on the latest Seifsa offer, so a mandate could be obtained as to what should constitute a resolution of the strike.
* A special Numsa NEC teleconference would then be convened later on Wednesday to receive feedback from the regions on the way forward.
“As we are engaged in an indefinite national strike, we call on Numsa members participating in the national strike to exercise maximum discipline and not to involve themselves in violent acts of any kind,” Ngobese said.
Employer organisation Seifsa (Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA) said it received reports of intimidation and damage to property from its members.
“A company in Alrode had to send it employees home for their safety, while another in the Dunswart area reported damage to its property,” said spokeswoman Ollie Madlala.
Ngobese said the union saluted striking workers, as they were not being paid while on strike, and appreciated the unity they had shown in the strike.
He criticised comments made by National Employers' Association of SA (Neasa) CEO Gerhard Papenfus on Monday, following a meeting between Neasa and Numsa.
Neasa confirmed to Numsa its current position that any wage offer was subject to an agreement on the establishment of a reduced entry-level wage.
This was in respect of new entries and the adoption of measures to make the industry more flexible, Papenfus said.
Without an agreement on Neasa's proposals, they felt they could not open themselves up to any wage increases.
Neasa has offered eight percent, subject to an agreement.
Ngobese said: “Papenfus must accept that Numsa shall never settle for an apartheid two-tier labour market system. Not now and not in the future.”
The strike began on July 1, with Numsa demanding a 15 percent wage increase and a R1000 housing allowance in a one-year bargaining agreement.
The union also demanded that the use of labour brokers should cease.
On Thursday, Seifsa tabled a three-year wage offer of between eight and 10 percent for different levels of workers in the first year.
The first category of worker was offered seven percent in 2015
and 2016, while the others were offered nine percent in the second year, and eight percent in the final year.