Industry Policy

Engineering sector summit agreement signedThis marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another….

Since the first Presidential Jobs Summit in 1998, Numsa has been actively involved in developing ideas on how the metals and engineering sector can be grown. It first produced its own studies of the sector but over the last few years has been closely involved with employers and government in drawing up a combined agreement.

The Growth and Development Summit of 2003 added further impetus to this joint approach when it resolved to hold a special metals and engineering sector summit.

The result was the launch on April 14 of the Metals and Engineering Sector Summit Agreement where representatives of business, labour and government put their signatures to the document. "The success of this agreement rests on stakeholders," Numsa vice president Ben Khoza warned those attending the launch.

"We don’t have the luxury of words that are not translated into actions. There must be a periodic review of the agreement. Every step of the way we must monitor, any further procrastination will render the contents meaningless."Numsa has begun developing a team that will monitor this agreement.

It has held a research and development group (RDG) for 25 shop stewards and regional organisers in Durban. Another workshop is planned for the balance of the Numsa regions.However before these RDG teams get into the details of the Job Summit agreement they will be taken through research methodology and how to write research reports.

The next set of workshops will tackle economic literacy. Participants will learn about macro-economic issues like inflation, fiscal policy and industrial strategy. Then they will get into the details of the job summit agreement and develop ways to monitor progress or lack of progress with the agreement.

Key aspects of the agreement

* A Metals Policy Forum comprising representatives of labour, business and government will formulate policy* The Metals Sub-Sector Implementation Groups (MSSIG) will coordinate the implementation of the strategy* Key action plans are to: – establish a competitive input price in the metal sector.

The dti is still investigating the feasibility of finding steel cheaper than from Mittal and of developing a competitor in Limpopo or Southern Mozambique.- promote the beneficiation of metals. Currently South Africa exports its raw materials and imports them back once they have been processed further.

The plan is to review and improve current incentives offered.- maximise local content. The government is investing millions in infrastructure development.

A database will be developed detailing major projects and their requirements so that local manufacturers can more easily respond to these requirements.- monitor imports so that instead of importing goods, local manufacturers are established to produce the very same goods.- support skills development especially the training of artisans, on the job training and of management skills- support research and development – commitment to black economic empowerment especially procurement from BEE enterprises and promoting partnerships with BEE enterprises- support strengthening of supply chain management, tooling as well as manufacturing and technological capabilities.


Is your shop steward inducted?Regions have almost completed induction training for all new shop stewards. The training takes new shop stewards through the history of Numsa. It gives them personal tips of Numsa president, Mtutuzeli Tom on how to be an effective shop steward.

Tom says shop stewards should:* leave their personal issues at home – workers' needs come first.* put themselves in "the same shoes as workers – work with them, don’t work for them. Talk to workers, even on a one-to-one basis.. on the train.. in the taxi.. during lunch-break, on the line.. raise the problems that you are facing".

* not pretend that they know everything. * always speak the truth even if what they say won't make workers happy.The workshop advises them that shop stewards duties do not end at the factory floor. They extend to dealing with problems where workers' stay.

This is what makes unions like Numsa progressive unions.It asks them to debate how to effectively service members and how to involve members in the union.It also asks them to take home a Numsa News and to prepare to report back and debate one of the stories with members in factory general meetings.

In your next factory general meeting, ask your shop stewards to report back on what they learnt in the induction workshop. And if s/he never attended, find out why. And if your shop steward never holds factory general meetings, then demand them in terms of Numsa's constitution.

Clause 4 (1)(d)8. says:"The shop stewards committee shall …call factory general meetings at least once per month."Regions will soon start training all shop stewards on how to defend workers who are disciplined at work and how to take up grievances that workers have with management.

Keep asking your shop steward when they will undergo this training. A trained shop steward is an effective shop steward!


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