Nehawu supports Numsa strike

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BR NUMSA 0028 Independent Newspapers. The National Union of Metalworkers striking workers march in central Johannesburg. The union wants a 12 percent salary increase, the scrapping of labour brokers, and a one-year bargaining agreement. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

Johannesburg - Nehawu on Tuesday called on the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) to stand fast in its demand for better wages.

“We call on the employers in the metal and engineering sectors to accede to the reasonable demands of the workers,” National Education, Health, and Allied Workers' Union spokesman Sizwe Pamla said in a statement.

Numsa on Tuesday began an indefinite strike in the metal and engineering sectors for a double-digit wage increase.

“We should not walk in fear of one another and allow ourselves as workers to be driven into an age of unreason,” Pamla said.

He said Numsa's wage demands were fair and attainable.

Earlier, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and trade union federation Cosatu said they supported Numsa's strike.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions described Numsa's demands as reasonable.

“We agree with Numsa's determination that they are not going to be intimidated by all those who represent the class interest of business and big capital,” Cosatu said in a statement.

The show of support comes as relations between Numsa, the NUM, and Cosatu have endured strain.

In December 2013, Numsa threatened to withhold subscription fees from Cosatu as part of a campaign to get the union federation out of the tripartite alliance with the ruling African National Congress and SA Communist Party.

Numsa supported Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi when he was suspended for having an affair with a junior employee at the federation's headquarters.

“We will organise a march to Cosatu House to push the Cosatu leadership to accede to the clarion call for a special national congress and withdrawal of charges against (suspended) Cosatu general secretary,” Numsa general secretary Irwin Jim said at the time.

In April 2013, the NUM accused Numsa of poaching its members who worked at Eskom.

The NUM reportedly wanted Cosatu's central executive committee to ensure Numsa “returned” its members employed at the power utility.

The NUM reportedly threatened to withhold its estimated R800,000 monthly subscription to Cosatu if it failed to intervene in its favour. - Sapa

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