JOHANNESBURG, June 8 – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said on Thursday that it was “dismayed” with proposals made by employers in the engineering sector during the two-day wage talks.
This comes after Numsa tabled its demands for a 15 percent wage increase across the board to the employers in the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) on Wednesday.
The metal and engineering sector talks come as the current wage agreement lapses at the end of June. In 2014, Numsa went on strike after a talks for a living wage and improved working conditions in the metal sector reached deadlock with employers.
This time Numsa is demanding a 15 percent wage increase across the board based on the actual rate that workers are earning, not on the minimum rate, and an extension of the current agreement for two years.
The union also wants all outstanding issues finalised, as well as the extension of the agreement to non-parties, including the National Employers Association of South Africa (Neasa) and the Plastics Converters Association of South Africa (Pcasa) who fall under the MEIBC.
In response, Numsa said employers proposed to increase on the minimum and not the actual wage rate that a worker is earning at that time, and to introduce a minimum 45-hour week.
Currently, metal and engineering employees work 40 hours, with anything over that is overtime.
The Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council was not immediately available for interviews.
Numsa also said employers wanted to reduce leave time for new employees by not allowing them the four weeks leave entitled to those who had worked four or more years.
“Numsa is dismayed with the employers in the engineering sector. They have responded to our demands with proposals which will result in a down variation of the working conditions which are currently in place,” Numsa acting spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi, said.
“It seems as if employers have deliberately chosen to propose policies designed to erode all the benefits which workers fought so hard for. It appears that they are attempting to provoke a deadlock so that strike action is inevitable.”
Hlubi said Numsa would be meeting with employers on Thursday for another day of talks where the union expect them to respond to its demands.
– African News Agency (ANA)