Jim: Numsa strike in metal, engineering sector indefinite until demands met

Thousands of workers marched from the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown earlier on Tuesday to the offices of the Metals and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council in Marshalltown.

FILE: Thousands of Numsa members marched from Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown to the offices of the Metals and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council in Marshalltown on 5 October 2021. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey Makhaza/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG/ DURBAN - Numsa secretary general Irvin Jim said the strike in the metal and engineering sector was indefinite until employers met their demands.

Thousands of workers marched from the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown earlier on Tuesday to the offices of the Metals and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council in Marshalltown.

Workers are demanding an 8% salary increase across the board. The employer has only offered a 4.4% hike

Numsa members came out in their numbers saying they wanted to send a strong message that they would accept nothing less than an 8% salary hike.

Jim said the strike would continue until their demands were met: “This strike is indefinite until employers meet our demands.”

Workers delivered a memorandum of demands at the offices of the Metals and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council in Marshalltown.

Officials then promised to continue talks with the trade union to try and reach a resolution.

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Meanwhile, Numsa in KwaZulu-Natal said its demonstrations in favour of a better wage increase would intensify.

The union’s KZN regional secretary Mbuso Ngubane has been leading a march to the Durban City Hall.

The worker’s union said Tuesday’s demonstration was just the start of many other pickets to follow.

Mbuso said regardless of their memorandum having been received and accepted by workers associations, this did not mean their demands had been met.

He said they would continue protesting: “Today we are mobilising our workers as we are launching the strike. So going forward, our members are going back to different companies and will picket outside the companies making sure that there is no work that is being done at those companies.”

Mbuso has also expressed dissatisfaction with some of the worker associations who did not pitch to listen to their grievances.

SUPPORT

Cosatu has endorsed the strike by workers in the metals and engineering industry, saying a failure to take a stand and defend the interests of workers would be a show of cowardice.

Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said: “We also offer our support and solidarity to the workers affiliated to the Numsa who are fighting for an 8% wage increase. Our failure to take a stand and defend the interest of our members in the face of this economic mismanagement will represent the worst form of cowardice that we will live to regret.”

Ntshalintshali also commended the unity displayed by mining unions in their ongoing wage talks with Sibanye-Stillwater in the gold mining sector.

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