NUMSA members protest outside Cosatu House in Braamfontein. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)
NUMSA members protest outside Cosatu House in Braamfontein. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)

Numsa threatens more industrial action despite 6% engineering sector wage deal

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Oct 22, 2021

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Johannesburg - Three employer organisations have this weekend to indicate whether or not they accept the 6% wage increase agreement signed by Numsa and the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa).

Numsa (National Union of Metalworkers of SA) and Seifsa signed a three-year 6% deal but the National Employers Association of SA (Neasa), Consolidated Employers Organisation (CEO) and the SA Engineers and Founders' Association (Saefa) are not party to the agreement.

The union’s general secretary Irvin Jim warned Neasa, CEO and Saefa that they must immediately indicate if they will accept the deal and implement it.

”It is our stance that through the gazettal of this agreement by the Department of Employment and Labour, it must be extended and benefit all workers in the engineering sector, including workers who work for employers who are affiliated to conservative employer associations such as Neasa, CEO and Saefa,” Jim said.

Jim continued: ”We demand that those conservative employer associations led by Neasa, CEO and Saefa must with speed reach Numsa between now and Monday and tell us whether they will accept the agreement reached between Numsa and Seifsa because if they fail, Numsa will not take responsibility for the negative consequences as a result of their intransigence as they have consistently refused to negotiate and to bargain for the entire duration of the strike. We are warning them. They must not test us”.

He demanded that Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi must extend the agreement to employer associations other than Seifsa and to every employer who is not party to it.

”We will support workers to continue the battle with those particular employers if they think they are going to take us for a ride,” he warned Neasa, CEO and Saefa, who are not party to the deal.

Numsa has informed Seifsa that because it and other unions and the federation were majority partners in the engineering industry they should go to the management committee which will endorse the settlement agreement.

The parties have agreed to, with immediate effect, invite and call on Nxesi to gazette the agreement and extend it to non-parties in line with the Labour Relations Act and the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council constitution.

According to Numsa, the fact that the union has compromised did not mean that they are cowards.

Numsa initially demanded 15% and later compromised to 8% and has not compromised further to 6%, Jim explained.

Last week, Seifsa tabled its final offer of a 3-year deal guaranteeing workers “personal rands and cents increases” this year as well as in 2022 and 2023.

Jim said the agreement would be implemented immediately and the increases back paid to July.

In terms of the deal, workers on lower wages will receive 6% increases each year while those on higher wages will get between 5% and 5.5%.

Numsa has also called on all employer associations to accept that its members should return to work from today (October 22) and no later than Monday, October 25.

Jim defended Numsa’s acceptance of the 6% offer, saying it was a product of the strike which workers unleashed on October 5.

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Political Bureau

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