Numsa delighted about the overwhelming strike support.

DATE: 29 July 2004




The one day strike action in the steel and engineering has received tremendous support from workers. An estimated 23 000 supported the protest march in Johannesburg and close to 5 000 workers protested in the streets of Cape Town. The memorandum was handed-over by Mr Bheki Magagula NUMSA Deputy General Secretary to SEIFSA Director Mr Brian Angus. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is delighted about the overwhelming support. The union has received a revised mandate from workers to move from 12% wage demand to 7,5% for the lowest grade and 6,5% for the highest grades. The employer federation has since offered 7,1% for the lowest grades workers. The protest actions demonstrated that workers are quite anxious to receive better wage increase. The protesting workers will return to work tomorrow. As things stand now, the ball is in SEIFSA court to move with great speed to substantially cushion the wages of workers. So far the 7,1% is rejected and both parties will meet tomorrow.

There has been a considerable and significant support for the strike despite some steel and engineering companies engaging in active despicable strike- breaking methods against the workers who wanted to take part in the protest action. The strike was a real remedy to secure improvements on wages. The primary strike action has been a great success with all workers remaining united and strong. We hope now that SEIFSA will adjust the salaries of workers closer to the union demand. Our primary objective has been achieved. The protest action has been carefully engineered and managed.

In the whole workers conducted themselves in a disciplined manner and there were less casualties despite repressive measures from other steel and engineering companies to stop the workers from participating in the strike. Workers have been brave and sacrificed their lost wages for sustainable salaries. We are proud that workers were not divided and demobilized by the SEIFSA somersaulting tactics.

NUMSA will continue to strike if there is a need because our demands are not magical or mysterious but are part of understanding the nature of work and the fundamental environment in the steel and engineering companies. The strike remains a powerful tool to change working conditions. We remain the strongest militant and democratic trade union in the country.

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