Numsa and Iscor resume wage talks.

DATE: 14 June 2004




The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the steel giant ISCOR will resume crucial wage talks on Monday 14/06/2004. The wage negotiations between the two parties will determine the wage increases for all production workers this year. Total employment stand at 12 000 from 44 000 in the 80’s. The union is demanding CPIX plus 11 % improvement factor across the board (ATB).

It is likely that the talks will be difficult taking into account that the company want to minimize labour costs and maximize profits for shareholders. The company has already frustrated and demoralized workers with all the retrenchments and the news that LNM will increase its stake to above 50%. The Competitions Tribunal has now freed LNM and ISCOR to do their own thing and continue to butcher workers as they like. Many workers do not see a great future with the company. Employment in the company is shrinking and remains highly precarious. We only hope that the company would not violate the spirit of the collective bargaining by refusing to give an increase that will be fair as to cushion for the effects poverty and unemployment.

The response of the employers in the past has not been dignified and rational which precipitated a number of industrial action. NUMSA believe that the current demand of CPIX plus 11% on ATB is scientific and it falls within the required economic explanation. The company has been more reticent on giving workers improved wages. There is no justification for a low base percent offer in the mist of difficult economic conditions. The spending pattern of workers in the steel company has increased six times in the last two years above yearly inflation rates. This has constrained wages and undermined the social wage.

The increase in the prices of commodities has not been consistent with wage improvements. Many workers remain cash strapped and there is no upward mobility in their economic lives as a result of anomalies in pay. By and large, workers remain in the same circle of poverty. The wages in the company have not been broad-based to accelerate the closing of the wage differentials and addressing economic difficulties. We trust and hope that sanity will prevail on the part of the company to meet all the only wage demand. We also hope that the company will change its imperious approach to collective bargaining.

For more information contact Dumisa Ntuli @ 689-1700 or cell 0829737282