Neasa metalworkers 'forced to strike'

Neasa refused to sign a wage agreement even after Numsa had signed one yesterday.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) members during strike action in Johannesburg on 1 July 2014. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has accused the National Employers Association of South Africa (Neasa) of forcing its members to embark on a secondary strike in the metal, engineering and automotive industry.

The union this week signed a wage agreement with most stakeholders in the secto r, saying the deal marked the end of their four week long strike.

But Neasa has refused to sign the settlement, saying it was blatantly sidelined during negotiations.

Numsa says a strike at companies represented by Neasa will continue despite reaching a wage agreement in the sector.

The union's General Secretary Irvin Jim says Neasa has declared a fresh dispute by locking its members out after Numsa reached a wage deal with the majority of employers.

"It can't be business as usual when our members are locked out."

He says Neasa's CEO Gerhard Papenfus is personally to blame for the latest developments.

"We ended the strike. Anything that happens from now onwards must be asked of Papenfus."

Neasa however says it's prepared to go to court over what deems an unaffordable and unsustainable wage hike.