The 4 000 paid-up members of the NATIONAL UNION OF METALWORKERS OF SOUTH AFRICA (NUMSA) working at the foreign and imperialist owned Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium Limited in eMalahleni (previously Witbank) have started with their protected strike since yesterday Monday July 16, 2012.

The strike action has been triggered by Evraz Highveld ruling oligarchy’s amateurish profit maximisation strategy and ill-conceived intentions to retrench thousands of poor workers.

The decision by Evraz Highveld to retrench workers indicates their intentions of reproducing racialised poverty and consigning Black African workers into deeper economic misery.

This is a spit on the face to the ANC-led government’s electoral commitments of building sustainable livelihoods geared towards defending existing jobs and creation of decent employment.

We remain opposed to retrenchments at this imperialist owned precious metals and steel company in the midst of its huge profits margins being off-loaded daily to bail-out companies listed in foreign and imperialist Stock Markets in the USA, Europe and Melbourne.

We strongly believe that retrenchments should not be an alternative or be considered as an option, given the fact that the ill-gotten bonuses or excessive pay enjoyed by its Executive or Managers should be slashed in order to save current jobs.

This demand is consistent with the Living Wage campaign of COSATU, which calls for equal redistribution of wealth at the point of production and closing the huge existing apartheid wage gap.

The union’s doors are open to engage with Evraz Highveld ruling oligarchy with the sole intention of stopping possible retrenchments in order to avert the strike action.

If Evraz wants to apply cheap imposition and dictatorship stances, we will hit them hard where its matters most, by halting production.

Our members will embark on militant action and halt production until the stinking and filthy rich Evraz ruling oligarchy reverses the decision to retrench workers.

We will never conform to market embedded strategy of maximizing profits whilst our members are feeling the pinch as a result of the high cost of living and burden imposed on them by the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and deepening inequalities.

Castro Ngobese, National Spokesperson, 083 627 5197


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