Numsa strike starts next week

The metalworkers union has called the strike following three months of failed wage talks.

The union has demanded a basic salary increase of 12 percent while companies have offered between six and eight percent. Picture: Zikhona Miso/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa ( Numsa) says a strike by about 220,000 of its members will start with mass pickets and marches around the country on Tuesday.

The strike in the engineering, communications and automotive sectors follows three months of failed wage talks.

The union has demanded a basic salary increase of 12 percent while companies have offered between six and eight percent.

Numsa's Irvin Jim says the strike is the union's last resort.

"Since the principle of no work no pay will be applied by transition bosses, it has never been in our agenda to call a strike.

"This strike has been imposed on us. Ours is to use the strike as part of the tactic to exact organisational pressure to the bosses."

The strike is expected to harm an already fractured economy, which contracted in the first quarter of the year.

Numsa's deputy general secretary Karl Cloete said, "We refuse to take the blame that we're harming the economy, the economy has been harmed for centuries."