Irvin Jim is the general secretary of NUMSA. Picture: Gcina Ndwalane
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has requested a certificate to strike in the engineering sector after the negotiations between the parties reached a stalemate.

The union expects to get a decision from the sector this coming Saturday, July 15. It said current wage agreements with the employers lapsed at the end of last month.

In 2014, Numsa went on strike after talks for “a living wage” and “improved working conditions” in the metal sector deadlocked. The union believes that its demands are reasonable and accused the employers for refusing to engage meaningfully with its demands for a living wage and improved working conditions.

Irvin Jim, Numsa’s general secretary, said: “We demand a 15percent wage increase across the board based on the actual rate that workers are earning, and not on the minimum rate. Secondly, we demand an extension of the current agreement for two years. In this period all outstanding issues must be finalised.”

He added that the union demanded that the extension of the agreement must include parties such as National Employers Association of South Africa and Plastic Converters Association of South Africa, who fall under the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council.

Numsa said it had a mandate from its 29000 workers in the sector to negotiate better wages and working conditions for its members and their families.

TOUGH CLIMATE

The talks also come at the backdrop of tough economic climate in the country as the economy is hardly growing with unemployment rate standing at a staggering 27.7percent.

In addition to the country’s woes, the International Monetary Fund predicted that South Africa’s economy was expected to grow by less than 1percent this year.

Numsa accused the employers of trying to implement a minimum rate of R20 per hour for new entrants to the sector while employers are offering an increased based on the minimum wage rate - a deal that the union is not happy with.

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