Protracted talks pave the way for ending strike

July 12, 2007

In a last-minute breakthrough, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Steel Engineering Industry Federation (Seifsa) have concluded a historic agreement resolving to end a crippling strike by metalworkers across the country.

The momentous three-year deal, surpasses all other deals ever concluded in the past for it will also pave way for the implementation of a new five grade job structure, employees share ownership scheme, generate more employment opportunities in the metal engineering industry among others, including skills development.

Seifsa, which represents about 9 000 engineering companies also agreed in principle to increase wages effectively from July 1, 2007 by 9% for the lowest paid workers and 8% for the advanced A grade level, and 8,1% 7,1% respectively in the year 2008 and 2009.

In a major victory for metalworkers, the parties involving other progressive unions also agreed to improve afternoon shift allowances by a considerable 8% increase.

Yesterday’s(Wednedsay) Numsa special meeting of the national executive committee has resolved to recommend the landmark agreement to the local shop stewards’ councils and region for ratification today(Thursday) and tomorrow(early Friday). Striking workers will be expected to return to work on Monday next week.

Numsa general secretary Silumko Nondwangu described the significant agreement as an “unprecedented deal which surpasses all other negotiated settlements in most sectors.

“And Numsa, is set to entrench the new deal as a settlement level in all other sectors in our scope. We are not going to accept anything lesser than this as all our sectors have creamed off highest turnovers and profits in the last three years while our members’ wages and benefits have been eroded for the past 10 years,” Nondwangu also pointed out.

Notwithstanding the unfriendly labour environment for the inexperienced budding apprentice, the parties also agreed to resume investigations on the alignment of the structure and timing of the apprentice wage rates and annual wage increases. Also to be established with immediate effect is a committee that will consider best ways to creat new job opportunities in the industry.

It is expected that the agreement will be signed tomorrow(Friday).

For further information contact:

Silumko Nondwangu at 011 6891700 or

Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson

Cell phone: 082 9407116

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