Numsa seeks legal advice on Neasa lockout

The union says it has 'every intention' to challenge the legality of Neasa's lockout.

FILE: 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) says it has not yet approached the Labour Court to challenge a lockout by the National Employers Association of South Africa (Neasa) at 60 companies across the country.

Neasa has refused to allow Numsa members to return to work despite the union signing an agreement to end a month-long strike.

Over 200,000 Numsa-affiliated workers downed tools at steel and engineering companies across the country for a 10 percent wage hike on 1 July.

The union settled with the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa on 28 July.

Neasa, which represents 22 members who employ about 70,000 workers, refused to sign the offer claiming it had been side-lined in the negotiation process facilitated by the Labour Department and saying it can't afford 10 percent.

Numsa deputy general secretary Karl Cloete says the union has sought legal advice but nothing has been finalised.

"We have every intention to challenge the legality of the lockouts."

Meanwhile, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has accused Neasa of being greedy and declaring war against Numsa members.

Vavi said bosses are unreasonable for rejecting the wage settlement.

He added that by refusing to sign the agreement, the employer association is widening divisions within the sector.