Numsa: Seifsa undermining strike

The union says Seifsa shouldn't communicate its conditionally accepted offer to the public.

Around 200,000 Numsa members downed tools in the automotive and metals industries on 1 July, bringing vast numbers of companies to a standstill. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa ( Numsa) has warned that the decision by employer body, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (Seifsa), to communicate its conditionally accepted offer to the public is undermining its wage strike and has the potential to prolong it.

Seifsa yesterday confirmed its 27 affiliates accepted a government-brokered proposal to end the strike, which still falls short of the union's demands.

Around 200,000 Numsa members downed tools in the automotive and metals industries on 1 July, bringing vast numbers of companies to a standstill.

The striking workers are demanding a wage increase of 10 percent every year for the next three years.

The mass action has been marred by violence and intimidation.

The proposal includes a 10 percent wage hike for the lowest paid employees over three years.

Numsa National Treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo says, "We shall go to them and tell them that we don't think it is helping the situation purely based on the professionalism on how it's being negotiated, especially at a leadership level."

At the same time, Seifsa has warned Numsa that if it doesn't accept the offer by Friday, it will be withdrawn and companies will revert to an original proposal which has already been rejected.

The stoppage has disrupted the supply of automotive parts and affected construction work at two crucial power stations for state utility Eskom.

The industrial action has dealt a further blow to the ailing South African economy, coming almost immediately after a five-month strike by miners in the platinum sector.