Irvin Jim, Numsa general secretary calls on Xstrata to go back to negotiations!

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) members working at Xstrata Smelters plants in Rustenburg have been on a protected strike action since October 24, 2011 for wage increases and improved conditions of employment.

Since September 2011, our bargaining teams have been engaged in protracted wage negotiations with Xstrata ruling oligarchy over wage increases and improved conditions of employment.

The negotiations were conducted to achieve uniformity and same employment conditions between Xstrata Smelters, Rustenburg and Xstrata Lion in Tubatse, Mpumalanga province.

The negotiations reached a deadlock in September, 2011.

After the deadlock the matter was referred to Conciliation which was facilitated by the CCMA, since the conciliation process facilitated by CCMA could not broker a settlement, the union was left with no option, but to exercise its right to strike.

A meeting between bargaining teams representing both workers and employers respectively to place on Saturday 22 October 2011, with an intention to avert the strike action.

Unfortunately the revised offer presented by the employers was totally rejected by workers.

The offer was rejected on the basis that was far from the expectations of workers.

These are the demands workers are fighting for:

• 10% wage increase across the board with an intention to close the existing wage disparities between Rustenburg plants and Lion Tubatse plants;

• Housing Allowance of R3500-00;

• Reduction of Grading System from 8 –to- 5;
The main contention or dispute which basically separates us and Xstrata is a core demand from our members.

Our members are demanding an equalized rates of pay within its two sister companies.

The principle of equal pay for equal work is not applicable in Xstrata since workers doing a similar job in Xstrata Lion plant, Mpumalanga, are getting better wages than their counterparts in Rusternburg.

Despite the fact that workers have been on a strike for almost three weeks management has refused to negotiate.

They have been putting all sorts of technicalities in the way and NUMSA view these as nothing, but delaying tactics and refusal to negotiate.

We call on Xstrata management to go back to negotiations and settle the current dispute as it is completely unnecessary, since their refusal to negotiate and applying cheap tactics on simple demands hardens our attitudes.

If this strike action remains unresolved it can polarize already strained industrial relations and deepen antagonism between management and the union.

The saddest part is that once industrial relations are compromised the victims are the workers and the poor given the depressing environment where we are faced with the challenge of defend existing and creation of new decent jobs.

We strongly believe that these demands by workers can be achieved by Xstrata, given the fact that Xstrata has bloated millions in rewarding its executives.

These demands are consistent with the Freedom Charter, the over-arching policy document of our revolutionary ANC which called for work and security for all.

Our members have been on strike action three (3) weeks without any concrete offer or proposal to resolve the strike action.

We will be intensifying our strike action by calling on our Xstrata Mpumalanga plants to embark on sympathy or solidarity action with an intention to force Xstrata to concede to our members as workers.

We will never conform to apartheid poverty wages and conditions of employment whilst our members and their extended families are feeling the pinch as a result of glaring poverty in modern Capitalist South Africa.
Issued by: Irvin Jim, NUMSA General Secretary

Media Enquiries: Irvin Jim, NUMSA General Secretary – 073 157 6384


Numsa Press Release