NUMSA update on wage talks 8 June

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) presented its demands to the employers in the Metal and Engineering bargaining council the MEIBC, yesterday.
These are NUMSA’s demands:
– We demand a 15% wage increase across the board based on the actual rate that workers are earning, and not on the minimum rate.
– We demand an extension of the current agreement for two years and the finalization of the outstanding issues
– We demand the extension of the agreement to non-parties; this includes non-parties like NEASA and PCASA who fall under the MEIBC.
In response, these are just some of the proposals that the Employers have placed thus far:
– If there is to be a wage increase employers want to increase on the minimums and not the actual wage rate that a worker is earning at that time.
– Currently employees work 40 hours, anything over that is overtime. The employers want to change this by introducing a minimum 45 hour week.
– Employers want to reduce leave time for new employees. Those who have worked 4 years or more, you are entitled to 4weeks leave. Employers want to change this – new entrants will not qualify for four weeks leave after four years of service.
– Employers want to tamper with benefits like the 13th cheque. If workers do not work all their shifts, they will only qualify for a prorata bonus. This policy has the impact of punishing women for taking maternity leave, and has a detrimental impact on workers who take sick leave or workers who are on an authorized leave.
– Employers want new employees joining the company to earn less than 60% of the current rate, not the actual minimum rate.
NUMSA is dismayed, with the Employers in the engineering sector. They have responded to our demands with proposals which will result in a down variation of the working conditions which are currently in place.
Our members are suffering in the Engineering sector. This is an industry which needs drastic reform and transformation. The industry is racist and employers operate from the premise that workers deserve to be exploited and that is why they are driving the implementation of such backward labour policies.
It seems as if employers have deliberately chosen to propose policies designed to erode all the benefits which workers fought so hard for. It appears that they are attempting to provoke a deadlock so that strike action is inevitable. NUMSA wants to make it clear that our intentions are to negotiate a wage agreement which will benefit our members and help them to raise their families with dignity. We are willing to engage constructively. However, we will not be coerced into accepting deals which will increase the suffering of our members. We will fight any attempt to implement policies which will take us back to the days of Apartheid exploitation.
NUMSA will be meeting with employers today for another day of talks where we expect them to respond to our demands. We hope that they will take this process seriously and work with us to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
Kind regards,
Phakamile Hlubi
NUMSA National Spokesperson (Acting)
Cell: 083 276 7725