Numsa secretary general Irvin Jim address union members at the end of the nine-days underground strike at Lanxess mine in Rustenburg.Numsa said on Tuesday that they were preparing to meet with auto employers for the second round of wage talks. Picture: African News Agency/ANA Reporter

JOHANNESBURG  - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said on Tuesday that they were preparing to meet with auto employers for the second round of wage talks after an agreement couldn't be met at their previous meeting.

"The wage agreement in the sector has lapsed and we need to negotiate new terms and conditions. Last week we met employers for two days for the first round of wage talks. Unfortunately, we are still very far from finding each other. We submitted a detailed list of 19 demands which is based on the needs of our members to improve their wages and conditions," said Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola.

The union said in a statement that employers had not engaged meaningfully with the demands that they had brought forward. 

"They also failed to engage on the demand for the implementation of an industry medical aid, and for workers who are at Level 4 to be moved to level 5. These are issues which are crucial to our members and unfortunately employers failed to table proposals to take the talks forward," Hlubi-Majola said.

"Furthermore, they have described the totality of our demands as a demand for a 45 percent increase. To us this demonstrates their narrow mindedness and their unwillingness to engage with each item we have listed in our demands."

Numsa said the only demand the employers had responded to was to make a 4.5% wage increase offer, in response to their demand for a 20% wage increase. 

"They are unwilling to recognizs the difficult socio-economic conditions facing workers in the sector, whilst they continue to reap massive profits, by exploiting labour," she said.

"It is clear to us that employers want to down vary our gains and take our members back from all that they have managed to negotiate in the sector in the last two decades. We will do everything in our power to block them from succeeding in this."

Numsa said they would be meeting with the employers again from 17-19 July in Pretoria for a second round of wage talks. 

"Meanwhile, we need to go back to our members and update them in order to get a fresh mandate. We hope that when talks resume this  week, employers will engage more seriously and we can start to make progress. We are doing everything in our power to prevent unnecessary delays so that we can reach an agreement soon. We hope the employers will assist us in achieving our objective."

- African News Agency