Economic slowdown cause metalworkers’ three year wage increases crash to great depression point

The swift economic slowdown has abruptly brought the country into a precipice of a national depression.

With unbridled rising interest rates, rocketing food prices, ominous 60% electricity tariff increases, the economic outlook for indigent metalworkers has fast slipped to a point of no return.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is gravely distressed that we face all sorts of price instabilities, 11, 5% prime interest rate hikes, including producer price index (PPI) rise above all other increases when unemployment has jumped to almost 30 percent.

It is a total onslaught on metalworkers’ collective bargaining victories on three-year wage increase agreements.

Other recent increases on fuel price, bond repayments compounded the economic instabilities as these seriously threatened further massive job retrenchments

With an ever-rising unemployment rate, increasing pressures on producer firms to pass their higher costs on consumers, declining economic growth, unsound wage and poverty policies, there is no positive normative statement that will help change the pessimistic psyche of national economic recession overwhelming the country.

Numsa is opposed to further interest rate increases as it hit harder on budding small- medium enterprises whose major responsibilities among others include extensive job creation and consequently offer downstream economic benefits to poverty stricken communities.

While we understand that the rocketing global food prices reflect on the general economic viewpoint, decline in the demand for unskilled labour and experienced workers with technical skills contribute to unemployment among others, it is time for Government, labour and other stakeholders work hand in glove in a bid to resolve the crisis at sectoral levels. This has important policy implications

It is also worrying that highly skilled workers get real wage increase and more jobs in the economy as a whole shift towards more skilled workers meanwhile the unemployed are becoming less skilled and the gap is widening between their skill level and the skill level of the employed workers. 

Our ultimate objective is to suggest economic policies that might reasonably put more of our members in productive jobs and ensure that it remains the primary task for all the stakeholders to understand why so many are without jobs in the first place.


For further information contact:

Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson

Cell phone: 082 9407116

E-mail :


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