Metal workers maintain lock-out

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NUMSA12345Red Reuters. The National Union of Metalworkers striking workers march in central Johannesburg. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

Johannesburg - Some of the National Employers' Association of SA's (Neasa) members are continuing their lock-out of workers who participated in the recent metal industry strike, it said on Wednesday.

“We are still continuing with the lock-out because our demands have not been looked at,” spokeswoman Sya van der Walt-Potgieter said.

“It is not compulsory, but for our members who can afford to continue.”

She said a survey done last week showed 40 percent of Neasa's members participated in the lock-out.

That number had gone down because many could not afford to continue.

New figures had not been compiled yet.

“The number has gone down. Those who have alternative employees will continue.”

Last month, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) threatened to take Neasa to court if it did not suspend the lock-out of its members.

At the time Van der Walt-Potgieter said the lock-out was legal and enjoyed the same constitutional protection as the right to strike.

On July 29, six unions in the metals and engineering sector signed a wage deal with most employers.

Neasa refused to sign, saying it had been sidelined in the negotiations facilitated by the labour department.

As a result, Neasa, which had 22 members and employed about 70,000 workers, continued its lock-out.

Over 200,000 Numsa members in the metal and engineering sector downed tools on July 1, demanding a salary increase of 12 percent, down from their pre-strike demand of 15 percent.

They then revised their demand to 10 percent.

They demanded a R1000 housing allowance and a total ban on labour brokers.

In terms of the new wage deal, workers would get increases of between eight and 10 percent, depending on whether they were high or low earners.

On Wednesday, Van der Walt-Potgieter said no formal negotiations were taking place at the moment and Neasa continued to engage with its lawyers.

A Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council meeting was held on Friday where unions tried to force parties who did not sign the wage agreement to comply.

“We said we won't be intimidated,” she said. - Sapa



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