Numsa's lockout application dismissed

The lockout includes a handful of companies that refuse to accept a wage deal signed by Numsa and Seifsa.

FILE: Numsa members picket at Megawatt Park, Sunninghill, northern Johannesburg on 2 July 2014. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Labour Court has dismissed an application by the National Union Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) to end a lockout of union members by the National Employers Association of South Africa (Neasa) in the steel and engineering industry.

The lockout includes a handful of companies that have refused to accept a wage deal signed by Numsa and the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa for a wage hike of 10 percent.

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, halting production at automakers including General Motors and hitting work at new power plants.

The union and other employers in the metal and engineering sector brokered a deal on 28 July, ending the almost four-week long strike.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim hailed the wage agreement as a massive victory for its members, adding the settlement was the product of sweat and bitter struggles.

But Neasa claimed many smaller businesses in the industry will either close or will have to retrench workers if they gave in to the 10 percent hike.

Numsa's Karl Cloete says the agreement has already been endorsed by the Bargaining Council but the union lost in court because it has not been gazetted by the labour minister.

"If the minister gazettes the agreement tomorrow then non-parties and parties don't have a choice but to implement it because it's now a legal document."