Phiyega wants urgent meeting with Numsa

Phiyega wants to meet the union to address the violence which is characterising its wage strike.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega has sought an urgent meeting with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) to address the violence and intimidation which has largely characterised its wage strike in the metal and engineering industry.

Around 200,000 workers downed tools in the metals and engineering sector on 1 July.

The union was initially demanding a 12 percent wage increase, a R1,000 housing allowance, career and training opportunities for all workers and the banning of labour brokering.

Numsa are vowing to cripple the metal and automotive industries if its demands are not met.

The union has since revised the wage demand to 15 percent.

The strike action, which follows a crippling strike by platinum miners that lasted five months, is expected to cost the economy over R280 million a day in lost output.

A total of 98 people have been arrested since the strike started last week with the majority of incidents of intimidation and violence being reported in Gauteng.

Yesterday, over 40 people were arrested in Brakpan and Germiston for public violence.

Phiyega's spokesperson Solomon Makgale says the national commissioner is very concerned about the violence and intimidation that has taken place.

"We made contact with them and are currently waiting for feedback as to when they would like to meet with us."

Makgale says they have not been able to establish if the people arrested are members of Numsa.

He says one person was also taken into custody in Gauteng after being found with a firearm at a picket.

NUMSA EXECUTIVE TO DISCUSS OFFER

Numsa on Tuesday announced it would hold a special national executive committee meeting to give feedback on the outcome of its latest negotiations with employers.

The gathering is expected to take place today.

The union said a new offer was tabled during negotiations on Tuesday, which were mediated by the Department of Labour.

Numsa leadership was unable to give details of the offer as it was yet to be discussed with striking members.

Negotiations resulted in some tensions between employer bodies Seifsa and Neasa, which struggled to agree on an equal wage increase.

Numsa spokesperson Castro Ngobese said the union is hopeful that its members will reach a decision on the matter by the end of the week.

"We are hopeful that by Thursday, we should know what our members are saying to the offer."