Pretoria - Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) are set to strike at ArcelorMittal South Africa from Wednesday morning after serving the company with notice to strike since wage negotiations hit a dead end.
Spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said people can expect the strike to commence around 8am at the company's Pretoria premises. Their union's members will also hold demonstrations in other branches like Vanderbijlpark and Newcastle.
The union is demanding a 10% percent wage increase across the board, a housing allowance, 80% medical aid contribution by the employer, the scrapping of labour brokers and insourcing of temporary employees.
They have been engaging in wage talks under the auspices of the Metals and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council since March but workers have become frustrated because of a deadlock between their representatives and the employer.
Hlubi-Majola said: "We have been unable to unlock the deadlock, even though we engaged in conciliation on May 5 under the auspices of the Metals and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council's Centre for Dispute Resolution.
"ArcelorMittal South Africa is Africa’s largest steel producer and it supplies over 60% of the steel used in South Africa and exports the rest to sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. It is part of the ArcelorMittal Group which employs over 191 000 people worldwide.
"At the heart of the dispute is the refusal by the bosses to make a meaningful offer to settle this round of negotiations."
The bosses have tabled a final offer of only 5% across the board. They are also offering workers 2% of their salaries in cash as a monthly amount, but the union rejected this proposal.
"What is a 5% increase for the lowest paid worker who earns approximately R7 000? It is not much at all. At the same time, the 2% cash payout is not an across the board increase. It will not result in increases in pension cover. Workers at ArcelorMittal South Africa have not had meaningful increases in two years.
"For 2020 and 2021 workers were given a two per cent increase and this was imposed on them in 2021. The management is claiming in their propaganda that they have the best pay scales in the sector. This is simply not true.
"Workers at ArcelorMittal South Africa are exploited and paid very low salaries, considering the size of the organisation. Our members are struggling to make ends meet, whilst the greedy bosses rake in obscene profits."