Moses Mayekiso, President of Workers and Socialist Party addresses. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya.

Johannesburg - The metal sector strike should be more political and pave the way for a workers party, the Workers and Socialist Party (Wasp) said on Wednesday.

“The Workers and Socialist Party calls on Numsa to accelerate the process toward the formation of a new workers' party in light of the Ipsos poll data showing one third of SA adults favour such a move,” said Moses Mayekiso, Wasp president and former Numsa general secretary.

“The new poll data shows the overwhelming support for a mass party of the working class. Wasp has been a tireless champion of the process toward a workers' party, encouraging those forces, including Numsa, to be bold and take that historic step.”

He said the employers condemned the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) strike for being political because they were terrified of the potential for a mass working class party to emerge from the ongoing strikes.

“We say to Numsa, the time has never been better to launch a new party and the process should begin today. Of course the priority in the metalworkers' strike is to win the workers' wage and other demands.”

He said the strike must also be used to unite metalworkers with the mineworkers and to appeal to the entire working class to begin the process of forming their own party.

Numsa has been on strike in the industries since July 1.

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) made a conditional final offer of a 10 percent wage increase in 2014, 9.5 percent in 2015, and nine percent in 2016.

On Sunday, Numsa rejected this, but indicated it would accept a 10 percent increase each year for the next three years.

Seifsa reverted to its previous offer of a 10 percent increase in 2014 and nine percent in 2015 and 2016.

For higher-earning artisans on level A, the offer remained eight percent in 2014, 7.5 percent in 2015, and seven percent in 2016.

The National Employers' Association of SA has offered an across-the-board increase of eight percent, subject to a lower entry-level wage for new employees and measures to make the industry more flexible.

It argues these conditions would help stimulate business and economic growth, and consequently create jobs. - Sapa