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Johannesburg - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa [Numsa] said it would demand a 15 percent wage increase across the board as wage talks in the metal and engineering sector begin on Wednesday. The metal sector wage talks are brought about as the current wage agreement lapses at the end of this month. 

In 2014, Numsa went on strike after a talks for a living wage and improved working conditions in the metal sector reached deadlock with employers. Numsa general secretary, Irvin Jim, said in a statement that the union was calling on all employers to negotiate in good faith and with the aim of reaching a settlement which will satisfy everyone this year, especially its members. 

"Numsa has been mandated by over 129 000 workers in the sector to negotiate better wages and working conditions for our members and their families," Jim said. 


"We have three simple demands. We demand a 15 percent wage increase across the board based on the actual rate that workers are earning, and not on the minimum rate. We demand an extension of the current agreement for two years. In this period all outstanding issues must be finalised." 

Jim said Numsa would also demand the extension of the agreement to non-parties. This includes non-parties like the National Employers Association of South Africa [Neasa] and the Plastics Convertors Association of South Africa [Pcasa] who fall under the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council [MEIBC]. 

Jim accused Neasa of deliberately undermining the MEIBC, saying that the employers association wished to collapse the bargaining council for its own selfish purposes. In 2014, there were back and forth applications at the Labour Court in Johannesburg to stop the extension to other unions of the 2011-2014 metal sector wage agreement struck with the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA (Seifsa).

 "Organisations like Neasa deliberately undermine the bargaining process. They have not made any contributions to the MEIBC," Jim said. 

AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY