Numsa said its 350 000 members will be part of the national strike planned by labour federation Saftu. Picture:Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - South Africa's biggest union, Numsa, said its 350 000 members will be part of the national strike planned by labour federation Saftu on Wednesday. 

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said the union is calling on all its members in the motor, tyre, bus and mining industry to join the national strike on Wednesday. 

The strike is spearheaded by the newly established federation Saftu and its affiliates. 

The federation is not happy with the amendments to labour laws that is currently underway in Parliament. The new labour laws include the introduction of a national minimum wage of R3500, which equals to R20 hour for workers. 

The national minimum wage was expected to come into effect on May 1, but has since be derailed as key aspects need to amended. 

Other amendments will see unions having to conduct secret ballots from members before going on strike. Saftu said this will frustrate workers and unions. 

Saftu believes the R20 an hour minimum wage is an insult to workers and will not help to remove them from the poverty line. 

Jim said a minimum wage should help uplift workers and that workers in Marikana, who died during the salary strike in 2012, were being insulted by the wage. 

"We are not fools we can see through the cheap plot of the department of labour supported by Cyril Ramaphosa where previously sectoral determination was used to improve benefits and wages for vulnerable workers, this has been replaced with low wages," said Jim. 

"We understand the governments agenda for what it is, an attack on the working class and in particular organised labour. Workers in Marikana died for a minimum wage of R12 000 and the ANC government spits in their graves with this R20."

But Wednesday’s strike will not have the backing of big union federations such as Cosatu and Fedusa. 

Cosatu has distanced itself from the strike and said that it supports the national minimum wage and that Saftu's strike is based on a fabrication of facts. 

Fedusa said it also does not support the strike and mentioned similar reasons as Cosatu. The federation said it also supports the minimum wage. 

Both Fedusa and Cosatu believe that participating in the strike would go against the gains made so far in attaining a national minimum wage. 

Fedusa, Cosatu and Nactu form the labour constituency at the National Economic, Development and Labour Council (Nedlac). 

The three played a role in negotiating the national minimum wage.  

Saftu is not part of Nedlac, and its unclear if the federation's strike will have any influence on the legislative processes currently underway. 

Political Bureau