Numsa reiterated its stance that workers should be allowed to express themselves through struggle songs.Pic supplied: Numsa.

JOHANNESBURG - At least 10 000 members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) are gearing up for a mega strike in the plastics sector and is calling for a total national plastics shutdown, the union said on Thursday

Numsa said that the employer group they were dealing with in the plastics sector was constituted by a conservative, notorious group of employers who have been hell-bent on undermining the hard won gains of workers. 

At the core of the strike that will commence on Monday is the demand for the total restoration of workers benefits and conditions as stipulated in the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) main agreement, as the plastics sector falls within the scope of the MEIBC.

Numsa demands, among others, that plastics workers’ wages and other terms and conditions of employment must be the same as those in the rest of the industry covered by the MEIBC, a 15% wage increase.

Irvin Jim, Numsa general secretary, said they were irritated and dismayed that these employers were emboldened by the worst onslaught against the working class, adding that theirs would be an indefinite strike and it will continue until such time that employers meet their demands. 

Jim said that any industry that depends on plastic, whether it’s the cell phone, IT, or automotive sector, will be affected. 

"We demand that workers in the plastics sector receive the same benefits as workers in engineering. We reject the employers’ attempts to worsen working and living conditions through downward variation. The bosses in this sector want to re-create Apartheid living and working conditions for the working class majority," Jim said.

"In essence this means that we want the provisions of the main agreement of the MEIBC to be applicable to employees in the plastics sector. We are calling on all our members in the plastics sector across the country to embark on an indefinite strike that will commence on Monday. This is a national strike which will affect at least 450 companies in the sector."

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 African News Agency (ANA)