NUMSA to begin wage talks in the Engineering sector

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) will begin wage talks in the Metal and Engineering sector from the 7th-8th June 2017.
The talks are necessary as the current wage agreement will lapse at the end of this month. In 2014 NUMSA was forced to go on strike because Employers in the sector stubbornly refused to engage meaningfully with our demands for a living wage and improved working conditions. That’s because some Employers in this sector believe in the super-exploitation of Black and African labour.
NUMSA is calling on all employers to negotiate in good faith and with the aim of reaching a settlement which will satisfy everyone, especially our members.
The challenging political environment
This year’s wage talks occur against a backdrop of great political and economic instability. There is a life and death struggle between the two camps of capital within the ANC. On the one side, white monopoly capital led by former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, and on the other side, the Zuma/Gupta camps. Their struggle has plunged South Africa into junk status. Unfortunately the main victims of junk status are the working class and the poor who have been living a life far worse than junk status for the last 23 years.
Globally, the neo-liberal global capitalist system is mired in a deep, long-term structural crisis, which is causing mass poverty, widespread unemployment, extreme inequality and environmental destruction. It is this crisis which is to blame for the economic crisis that our country faces, where for the last 23 years we have experienced very low growth, increasing unemployment, and inequality. Even backward, right wing institutions like the World Economic Forum (WEF) admit that neo – liberalism is to blame for rising income and wealth disparity and that this is a threat to globalization. As a result the captains of capital have been talking about focusing on developing the ‘local economy’.
The local economy will not grow if workers continue to earn peanuts. How can South African workers participate in the economy and help grow the economy if they don’t earn enough to raise their families and educate their children? The bosses can no longer justify the low incomes that the majority of Workers in South Africa are exposed to.
Right wing racist organizations like NEASA are attempting to destroy collective bargaining
We also want to expose Employer organisations like NEASA which are attempting to undermine the MEIBC. This racist right wing organisation wishes to collapse the bargaining council of the MEIBC for its own selfish purposes.
The NEASA led coalition are an association of union bashers who are trying all they can to destroy the bargaining process. They are fighting to ensure that Workers in this country suffer under an oppressive labour regime, where they have no protection, low pay and poor working conditions, just like they did under Apartheid.
Organisations like NEASA deliberately undermine the bargaining process. They have not made any contributions to the MEIBC. Furthermore, whenever we reach an agreement as part of the MEIBC, these right wing union bashers rush to court to nullify the agreement and undo all our hard won gains. NEASA members literally get fat from the profits of labour, and they want to ensure that workers are exposed to starvation wages, because like most racists, they believe that Black and African workers deserve to suffer.
NUMSA has been mandated by over 129 000 Workers in the sector to negotiate better wages and working conditions for our members and their families.

We have three simple demands:

1. We demand a 15% wage increase across the board based on the actual rate that workers are earning, and not on the minimum rate.
2. We demand an extension of the current agreement for two years. In this period all outstanding issues must be finalized.
3. We demand the extension of the agreement to non-parties, this includes non-parties like NEASA and PCASA who fall under the MEIBC.
PCASA is in fact bound by the agreement which is negotiated under the auspices of the MEIBC
We also wish to educate Employers in the plastics sector, (PCASA) who seem to be under the illusion that the agreement does not extend to them. PCASA is in fact bound by the agreement which is negotiated under the auspices of the MEIBC. The so-called Plastics Negotiating Forum must be disbanded. Whatever agreements were made there  have not been gazetted and are therefore not recognized by the department of Labour. This forum nothing more than an attempt to dilute and undermine bargaining process, and, whatever that has been discussed there, cannot be extended to non-parties.
Our members and their families deserve to live with dignity!
NUMSA will fight for an improvement in the current agreement because our members and their families deserve to live with dignity. We are committed to negotiating the best agreement which will enable our members and their families to improve their living conditions.
Despite the challenges ahead, we are inspired by former Cuban president and revolutionary, Comrade Fidel Castro who said, ‘Great crises have always delivered great solutions’. We will not rest until we secure an agreement which will be beneficial to our members and their families.
Aluta continua!
The struggle continues!
Issued by Irvin Jim
General Secretary, NUMSA
For interviews contact:
Phakamile Hlubi
Acting NUMSA Spokesperson