Numsa to wrap up national meetings

Members of the metalworkers union have been meeting throughout the country.

Numsa members have been wrapping up the final day of meetings on Sunday,

JOHANNESBURG - As National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa) members wrap up the final day of meetings on Sunday, divisions within the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and campaigning for the African National Congress (ANC) next year will be discussed ahead of a special congress in December.

The union's members, numbering more than 320,000, have been meeting across the country this week to iron out what the congress will be tasked with.

They're also expected to reflect on Numsa's recent strike action in the automotive industry as well as the threat from rival unions.

Numsa's General Secretary Irvin Jim says the main aim of the meetings is to ensure that the union continues to "champion working class interests."

But he says Cosatu is a major topic of discussion.

"The current challenges that confront the federation [Cosatu] will be debated and that includes how we deal with those deepening divisions that exist in the federation."


Earlier this month, Numsa accepted a 10 percent wage hike in the first year and eight percent in the next two years to end a month-long strike in the automotive industry.

However, it also emphasised the issue of a three-year peace plan proposed by employers, which was a major contention point.

More than 40,000 workers had downed tools, bringing the country's automotive industry to its knees.

The strike was estimated to cost the industry hundreds of millions a day.

At the time, The Retail Motor Industry (RMI) warned that the collapse of the collective bargaining unit of the automotive industry would lead to anarchy in the workplace.

The forum negotiated with workers for higher wages and allowances on behalf of 18,000 companies.

But Numsa threatened to collapse it following unsuccessful talks and a lengthy strike.

The union claimed that employers used the bargaining unit to claim they cannot afford wage hikes.

RMI CEO Jakkie Olivier said, as far as they were concerned, the Bargaining Council was good for both labour and business.