NUMSA signs the new consolidated wage agreement in the Engineering sector

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa which represents 129 thousand super exploited workers in the Engineering sector, has agreed to sign the wage proposal offered by SEIFSA a federation of employer associations. We are proud to say that our militant approach to the wage talks bore fruit. We stopped employers from implementing the fake National Minimum Wage of R20 per hour and we also prevented them from down varying the basic conditions and eroding our hard won benefits. We negotiated in good faith, and we conducted the talks with integrity. As a trade union we are always mindful of the damaging effects of a strike and the burden that it places on our members and their families. We are also aware of the dismal economic situation caused by the downgrade to junk status and the negative impact that this has had on the growth of the metals and engineering sectors. Over two decades of democracy and our members continue to suffer the burden of low, colonial and very inferior racist inspired wages. We cannot ignore the sub-human conditions which the majority of the Black and African working class are exposed to. As NUMSA we are committed to fighting to improve the living and working conditions of our members and their families.
We had initially demanded a 15% across the board wage increase for our members, in recognition of the extreme suffering they experience as a result of low wages. However we decided to compromise because we wanted to save the bargaining council and to ensure that centralized bargaining is sustainable. We are also mindful of the dire economic situation which is affecting the economy and the impact that it’s had on the companies. We believe that this is the best agreement in the face of the complex situation we face. In line with our worker controlled principles, we spent the last two weeks canvassing the opinions of all our members in all nine regions in order to get a mandate on the proposal. The majority of regions accepted the proposal.
Below are some details of the new collective wage agreement which we have signed:

  1. We have agreed to a three year wage agreement which will be backdated from the 1 July 2017 and will expire on the 30th June 2020.
  2. The new consolidated main agreement will be extended to non-parties and is binding to all in the Engineering sector. The Bargaining Council shall be the sole forum for negotiating matters contained in the Main Agreement. During the currency of the Agreement, no matter contained in the Agreement may be an issue in dispute for the purposes of a strike or lock-out or any conduct in contemplation of a strike or lock-out.
  3. In the first year of the agreement wages will be increased by 7% on the actual rates of pay across the board effective from 1 July 2017 to 30th June 2018.
  4. In the second year of the agreement wages will be increased by 6.75% on the actual rates of pay across the board effective from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019.
  5. In the third year of the agreement wages will be increased by 6.5% on the actual rates of pay across the board effective from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.
  6. Company-level agreements will not be affected by the provisions above. Furthermore, in the case of such existing company-level agreements, only party trade unions registered with the Bargaining Council will be entitled to engage with employers at company level.
  7. The Parties acknowledge that this Agreement, from date of signature, will be backdated to 1 July 2017, covering all hours worked and related allowances.

Plastics Negotiations

NUMSA has been engaging in wage talks in the Plastics sector. We want them to align with the companies in the Engineering sector. We do not believe the working conditions for our members in this sector should be different as they also fall under the MEIBC. They are represented by the following associations: PCASA; CEO; SAIFA; LEIA and KZNIEA.
NUMSA is therefore making the following demands:

  • We want a 15% wage increase across the board based on the actual rate that a worker is earning, and not on the minimum rate.
  • We demand a two year agreement.
  • We demand the finalization of other outstanding issues during that period.
  • We demand the extension of the agreement to everyone in the plastics sector, even non-parties.

We will continue to do all we can to negotiate an agreement which will benefit our members.

We are inspired by the words of Cuban president Comrade Fidel Castro who once said:
“No thieves, no traitors, no interventionists. This time the revolution is for real!”
Issued by Irvin Jim NUMSA General Secretary
For interviews contact:
Phakamile Hlubi
NUMSA National Spokesperson (Acting)