Johannesburg - A wage strike by 50 000 workers in the clothing industry was averted at the last minute yesterday, while one in the gold sector is expected to start tonight.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which represents 64 percent of workers in the gold sector, is expected to down tools after talks with the Chamber of Mines deadlocked.
The NUM wants wage increases of as much as 60 percent, while employers have revised their initial offer from 5 percent to between 6 percent and 6.5 percent for about 142 000 workers.
It is feared that the strike may lead to violence as it is believed the employers are planning to effect a lockout.
Employers in the clothing industry have agreed to a 7 percent wage increase for clothing workers in urban areas and a 10.1 percent hike for those working in non-metropolitan areas, such as Ladysmith and Newcastle.
A majority of 75 percent of the employers adopted the wage agreement yesterday morning, just hours before the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union was due to file a strike notice.
The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said yesterday that it had put on hold a looming strike in the retail motor industry, which was due to start yesterday.
Castro Ngobese, a spokesman for Numsa, said the employer bodies, the Fuel Retailers Association and the Retail Motor Industry Organisation, had requested talks with the union leadership, which would be held tomorrow and on Thursday.
If the negotiations failed, the strike would start next Monday, involving 72 000 members in petrol stations, component suppliers and automotive retailers.
The union demanded a R30 an hour increase across the board on actual rates of pay in all sectors and divisions for workers earning above R6 000 a month by 2016, among other things.
A strike by SAA Technical staff members affiliated to the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) would continue, the union said yesterday.
Engineers and technicians would continue picketing outside SAA Technical’s premises in Kempton Park, calling for a double digit increase, general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu said.
A strike in the construction sector continued yesterday, after the latest wage offer was rejected, NUM announced.
On Friday the body representing employers, the SA Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors, tabled an offer of a 10 percent wage increase for category one to four workers and an 8 percent increase for categories five to nine.
NUM sought 13 percent for 2013, and 14 percent for 2014. - Business Report