Johannesburg - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, the country’s biggest labour group, reduced its wage demand to 10 percent from 12 percent and said it’s willing to end its strike if employers agree to a one-year deal.

“We are ready to end the current strike with a one-year agreement and a 10 percent wage increase,” Numsa’s General Secretary Irvin Jim told reporters today in Johannesburg, declining to explain why the union altered its demand.

“If employers want a three-year agreement, they must meet workers’ demand of double-digit increases. The strike continues and we call on our members to intensify the strike.”

The strike involving more than 220,000 workers in the manufacturing and engineering industry is affecting about 12,000 employers including Nampak, the continent’s biggest can manufacturer, and carmakers such as General Motors and Evraz Highveld Steel.

As the work stoppage enters its third week, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa, an employers’ lobby, is offering a three-year package.

“We are discussing solidarity actions to intensify the strike,” Numsa president Andrew Chirwa said during the presentation to reporters.

Numsa’s national strike committee will meet tomorrow, he said. - Bloomberg News