Zuma: No need for strike violence

Comment on this story
JacobZuma REUTERS South Africa President Jacob Zuma.

Johannesburg - There was no need for violence during a strike, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday, as the pay dispute in the metals industry continued.

“While respecting the constitutional and hard-won worker rights, let me emphasise that government will always act against those who use violence and intimidation to advance their cause,” he said at the unveiling of a vehicle assembly plant in Coega, Eastern Cape, according to a copy of his speech.

“There is no need to resort to violence. We condemn all acts of violence that have been reported thus far,” he said.

Thousands of workers from the metals and engineering industries began striking last Tuesday.

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) wants a 15 percent wage increase and a R1000 housing allowance in a one-year bargaining agreement.

Scores of people have been arrested for damage to property and public violence linked to the strike.

On Tuesday, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega's office said in Gauteng alone 53 people were arrested on a single day for strike-related offences.

Last week, employer body, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA tabled a three-year wage offer of between eight and 10 percent for different levels of workers in the first year.

The National Employers' Association of SA has offered eight percent, subject to an agreement on the reduction of the entry-level wage.

Zuma said government was facilitating the negotiations through the labour department.

“We wish the parties well and trust that they will reach a mutually beneficial agreement without much delay. The metal industries sector needs to go back to full production as soon as possible,” he said.

The R600 million truck assembly plant is jointly funded by China's FAW group corporation and the China-Africa Development Fund.

The plant is expected to assemble 5000 trucks annually for the market in Sub-Saharan Africa. - Sapa

sign up

Comment Guidelines

  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

  5. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. You are only required to verify your email address once to have full access to commenting on articles. For more information please read our comment guidelines