Strike-related violence continues

Twelve people were arrested after attacking a truck at a metals company on the East Rand.

Around 200,000 Numsa members embarked on a nationwide strike on 1 July 2014. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Twelve more people, believed to be affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), have been arrested on the East Rand after they allegedly attacked a truck leaving a metals company.

Police say the group started vandalising the vehicle as it left the premises in Brakpan this morning.

Incidents of violence and intimidation appear to have flared up again, as the Numsa wage strike continues into its second week.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini says, "We are monitoring the strike. All our officers have been deployed to those flashpoint areas, especially in the East Rand."

Last week police arrested 26 people on the East Rand for public violence and vandalism.

At the same time tensions are building between the two employer bodies negotiating with Numsa to end the ongoing metal and engineering strike, with the National Employers Association of South Africa (Neasa) warning the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (Seifsa) that it has set unrealistic expectations.

Seifsa, which represents big business in the sector, has offered Numsa a 10 percent wage hike while Neasa, negotiating for smaller businesses, says it can only afford eight percent.

Neasa says if Numsa accepts the 10 percent offer it could be extended across the industry which would result in a court challenge to prevent this from being implemented.

Neasa chief executive Gerhard Papenfus says his association should have been consulted before Seifsa tabled a 10 percent offer, considering the implications.

"Seifsa made a big mistake making that offer without consulting us and to some extent, that has compromised the employer position and that is complicated."

Papenfus says they have successfully challenged the extension of a Seifsa agreement in the past and will do so again.

Talks between Numsa and the two employers are expected to resume again today.