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Numsa to fight for its members

50 striking workers were arrested on Thursday for inciting public violence.

FILE: Numsa members strike in northern Johannesburg on 09 September 2013. Picture: Mbali Sibanyoni/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says it will fight and go to court on behalf of its members who were arrested in Kempton Park on Thursday.

Petrol attendants, panelbeaters and car and spare part dealers affiliated to Numsa as well as other non-unionised workers went on strike on Monday.

Striking workers are demanding a double digit wage hike.

Numsa is demanding a 12 percent increase for its members, which equates to a hike of R30 an hour.

Employers are offering 7 percent.

Meanwhile, more than 50 striking workers were arrested in Kempton Park for inciting public violence.

Officers say demonstrators threw stones at them, damaging a police vehicle in the process.

Numsa's Irvin Jim said the union will ensure its members are released.

"We will have to investigate the circumstances, but from where we stand, police have nothing to do with our members who are involved in a legally protected strike. We will fight it and ensure if our members are arrested we will go to court and ensure they are released."

Jim called on members not to get involved in violence or intimidate non-striking workers.

"This is a legally protected strike and therefore there's no need for any form of intimidation as that can only give employers ammunition to undermine a legitimate strike with legitimate demands."

Meanwhile, the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) says striking petrol attendants are violating picketing rules and it will apply for a court interdict before the end of the day preventing further intimidation.

The RMI's Jakkie Olivier said the violence surrounding the strike is escalating and employers have an obligation to seek intervention.

"We are very much concerned when people get hurt, cars are stoned and hate speech is the order of the day. These issues don't help the cause. We would like to get it resolved."

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