Numsa employees threaten prolonged strike unless Mpumalanga secretary removed

The largest union in the country is facing a strike by its workers in Mpumalanga over several workplace disputes with its provincial secretary, Essau Tau.

FILE: Numsa's Irvin Jim (C) at a media briefing on 24 April 2018. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said that it respected the rights of its employees to strike.

The largest union in the country is facing a strike by its workers in Mpumalanga over several workplace disputes with its provincial secretary Essau Tau.

This means that services being rendered to the union’s members in the province have mostly come to a halt as the only office operating is in Nelspruit.

The strike, which started a week ago, was met with a court interdict by the union to halt the action by workers despite its general secretary Irvin Jim saying that they respected the workers’ right to strike.

While strikes are a norm in the South African labour market, rarely do trade unions embark on protest despite reported harsh working conditions in the organisations meant to uphold the labour laws as they expect of the employers of their members.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola: "There are issues which they've raised directly with the national leadership. We are currently engaging with staff on the grievances which they have raised. We will not be engaging through the media."

The striking workers who spoke to Eyewitness News said that they were willing to carry on with the protests even in the new year unless the national leaders of the union removed the Mpumalanga secretary, who they claim has made life hell for workers who aren’t his friends.

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