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Numsa plans to intensify strike

The metalworkers union says it will meet with members to plan how to strengthen its wage strike.

Hundreds of National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) members took to the street to demand pay hike in a nationwide strike on 1 July 2014. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says it will meet with its members today to plan how to intensify its wage strike.

The mass action has entered its third week.

On Monday, the union met with representatives of some of the country's biggest steel and engineering companies, to discuss a possible settlement.

It formally rejected the employers' latest wage offer at the weekend, saying its members are reluctant to sign for more than one year due to the unpredictable increase in the cost of living.

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (Seifsa) has offered 10 percent - 9,5% and 9% over three years - while the National Employers Association of South Africa (Neasa) says it can only afford 8%.

Numsa's Secretary General Irvin Jim says they are now waiting for a response from Seifsa about their demand for a 10 percent wage increase.

"We have clarified various permutations which we think employers should consider settling the strike and of course they had no mandate to move from the current offer on the table."

Numsa initially demanded first a 12 and then 15 percent wage hike in addition to a R1,000 housing allowance and the scrapping of labour brokers.

About 220,000 Numsa members went on strike two weeks ago following four months of unsuccessful talks.

The first two weeks of Numsa strike has been marked by an intervention by the Labour Department and widespread reports of violent pickets and damage to property.

COMPANIES SUFFERING

Car giant Toyota says it has been forced to suspend production at two of its lines in Durban as a result of supply chain problems due to the strike.

Last week, General Motors was forced to close its assembly plant in Port Elizabeth.

The company's Denise van Huyssteen said the strike badly affected its production lines.

"The strike has impacted upon the supply of components to our production lines resulting in our lines not being operational. We have lost eight days of production."