South Africa - Johannesburg - 16 March 2019 - Members of the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party and NUMSA protesting outside the US Embassy in Sandton condemning the US and its allies in the European Union for attempting a coup in Venezuela. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA).

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) on Friday cancelled its planned march to ArcelorMittal South Africa in Johannesburg.

"This is because the company is threatening to interdict the march if we proceed. It is in the best interests of our members to protect the strike and ensure their demands are met, therefore the march today has been cancelled," Numsa said in a statement.

Numsa had planned to march to the headquarters of ArcelorMittal in Sedibeng, south of Johannesburg, as part of its campaign to intensify its five weeks strike at the steel manufacturing company. 

At least 2,000 permanent employees and contract workers have been on strike since 12 March. 

Numsa says a large number of its members are at a disadvantage because they were employed through contractors Real Tree Trading and Monyetla Services but actually work for ArcelorMittal. 

The union wants all contract workers to become fully in-sourced by ArcelorMittal and earn the same salary and benefits as other permanent workers. It also alleges that employees work under unsafe working conditions and that the company's management has failed to adhere to health and safety regulations. 

ArcelorMittal is the world's biggest steel manufacturer with over 300,000 workers internationally and 60 offices globally.

But ArcelorMittal has denied that employees were at risk at the company, saying safety remained its number one priority and was essential to its sustainability. 

The company has proposed a process to in-source some workers with critical skills currently employed at service providers over a three year period, as part of its business optimization programme.

- African News Agency (ANA)