Just days before the engineering industry effected its below inflation wage increase, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and steel engineering employers have agreed in principle to a remarkably higher 10,4% across-the-board wage increase.
In a landmark agreement concluded by Metal Engineering Industry Bargaining Council chief executive officer Alistair Smith, on behalf of all parties, employers agreed to honour their moral and ethical responsibility and up their offer in response to the drastic rise in consumer price index on food, interest rates and fuel price increases.
This follows a three-year wage agreement sliding into a vain attempt as far-reaching month-on-month price increase from April, 2008 which exceeded the inflationary expectations. The original agreement entitled employees to wage increases amounting between 7, 1% for artisans and technicians and 8, 1% for other lower grades.
MEIBC had to intervene after Numsa and Steel Engineering Industry Federation of South Africa (Seifsa) could not agree on reopening of the negotiations following the drastic inflationary commodity raises which required further wage adjustments.
The union agreed, however that three agreement be extended for another year to June 30, 2011.
In a special national executive committee meeting yesterday, Numsa which initiated the wage adjustment process three months ago, mandated regional union leadership to embark on an intensive consultation drive on local and regional membership to explain the decision to conclude the historic agreement and its implications before it is signed on July 1, 2008.
The latest agreement brought about by the extraordinary inflationary troubles will further consider paying higher increase whenever inflation rises above 9% before its expiry.
Other outstanding agreements related to collapsing of the lowest H, G grades to F, training and closing of the historic apartheid wage gaps, would continue to be pursued in other respective forums which adopted all- encompassing measures to address those disquieting issues.
Numsa expressed gratefulness that exploratory talks resulted in significant increases for members after the union persuaded on moral grounds that employers reconsider the granting of wage increases which were far too less than the inflation, which economists expected to rise beyond 13% in next December.
For further information contact:
Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson
Cell phone: 082 9407116