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Neasa: Oliphant must intervene in dispute

The employers association says it cannot match the 10 percent hike brokered between Numsa and Seifsa.

FILE: 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. Picture: Mia Spies/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has withdrawn its legal action against a lockout by companies affiliated to the National Employers Association of South Africa (Neasa).

Neasa says it cannot match the 10 percent wage hike brokered between Numsa and the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa).

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 Seifsa 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.

The employers association claims its members can only afford a 7 percent increase.

Neasa chief executive officer Gerhard Papenfus says Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant must intervene in the wage dispute.

He says Neasa's members are in a substantially different position to Seifsa members.

"I think that the one option is that small businesses get a separate dispensation, if they have that we'll lift the lockout."

Numsa in the Western Cape says some Neasa-affiliated companies have already lifted the lockout.