Numsa plans a national strike over plant agreements impasse

The largest metal engineering industry is tipped over the edge of a disruptive work stoppage after its refusal to integrate plant agreements into the main industry agreement.

At least 15 companies involved in the house agreements faced nationwide strike by 7 000 members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) in September. And the solidarity strike action in the whole engineering steel industry is anticipated after a dispute has been referred to the metal engineering industry bargaining council (MEIBC).

The MEIBC has been asked to intervene or the industry risked the worst disruptive strike if the matter was not resolved within 30 days, Numsa chief engineering steel co-coordinator Lucas Mthiyane said yesterday.

“We have for a long time honoured the fond hope of reaching an amicable solution to the incorporation of the plant agreements into main one in order to ensure that there is uniformity in minimum work conditions and benefits for the industry,” he said.

A national shop stewards council held last weekend declared a dispute and resolved among others to embark on a national strike after both parties failed to conclude negotiations on the long standing issue of incorporation of the house agreements to a special chamber under the auspices of the MEIC main agreement.

Numsa has pressed since last year’s bargaining wage talks for all house agreement companies as a separate schedule. It also demanded that existing gaps in the main agreements in particular pertaining to the use of labour brokers by these companies should be outlawed and in the event of the parties reaching a deadlock over the use of labour brokers workers reserved the right to embark on industrial action.

[For further information please contact Mziwakhe Hlangani @ 011 689 1700 or 082940 7116]