The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) on Tuesday slammed “intransigent” employers in the engineering sector and warned of a “total shutdown” in the industry.
This comes after Numsa declared a dispute with employers in the engineering sector following deadlock in wage negotiations last month.
Speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said after four dispute meetings the union failed to reach any agreement with employers in the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council.
Numsa is demanding a 15% wage increase across the board based on the actual rate workers are earning, not on the new minimum rate. The increases must be backdated to 1 July,
But employers propose, among other things, a three-year wage agreement offering of 5.3% wage hike across the board for the first year of the agreement based on the minimum rate, and not the actual rate that workers are earning.
The metal and engineering sector wage agreement lapsed at the end of June.
If the strike goes ahead, key sectors that will be heavily affected include foundries, electronics and telecommunications, plastic and fabrication industries, machinery and equipment, electricalengineering, basic metals, heavy and light engineering as well as construction engineering companies.
Ongoing work at Eskom power stations Medupi, Kusile and Ingula, might as a result incur further delays.
Jim said employers in the metals and engineering industry would have to take full responsibility for the repercussions that this strike will have on the economy as a result of their intransigence.
“Numsa has resolved to embark on a rolling mobilisation of our members to make them ready for any eventuality and as we mobilise our members, we will dedicate time to engage employers further demanding that they must move from the current position, and make an offer that can settle this round of negotiations,” Jim said.
“Once we have satisfied that we have done everything we might be left with no option but to issue the 48-hour notice for a legally protected strike.”