File Image: IOL. The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) has rejected the latest wage offer from Mpact Plastics in Pinetown.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) has rejected the latest wage offer from Mpact Plastics in Pinetown.

NUMSA said at least 140 contract workers have been on strike because they want to be permanently employed. They were also demanding an end to labour brokers.

Contract staff work just as hard as the permanent staff but they only earn R20 per hour which is half of the minimum rate in Engineering. Our members also want benefits like medical aid and provident fund. “Mpact management made an offer to increase wages by R2,50 per hour; and an offer to increase  night shift allowance from 10% – 12%. But we have rejected the offer because it does not go far enough in ensuring that our members and their families are able to live a dignified life”.

“Our members are part of the working class poor. They can barely survive on R20 per hour, which government has proposed as the National Minimum Wage for next year. Our members spend more than half their income on public transportation just to get to work and like most African families, they support at least eight dependents,” said NUMSA.

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NUMSA said the cost of living was particularly high for them because they have always earned low wages. They were directly affected by high unemployment, poverty and inequality. Companies like Mpact exploit African labour and the low pay was proof that they do not value their contribution. The union said picketing would continue until Mpact meets their demands for a living wage. Last week permanent staff joined in a solidarity strike and they salute them for their sacrifice.

“We commend our members for fighting for a better life for themselves and their families. During a strike a ‘no work no pay policy’ applies. And our members are willing to give up their own comforts for the right to equality in the workplace,” said NUMSA.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE