By Banele Ginindza for IOL
Not an improved offer from employers, the death of a worker on the picket line, nor the woes over the collapse of the collective bargaining system have swayed workers nor employers in the ongoing National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa) organised strike, which continues into this week.
Cracks in the wall emerged over the weekend between employer organisations, with the National Employers Association of South Africa (NEASA) saying they would not be led by the nose through negotiations by Numsa, as they offered a 4.28 percent wage increase against the 8 percent plus Consumer Price Index (CPI) demanded by Numsa.
Employers are counting on a yet undecided Numsa to consult with members on an undisclosed offer tabled late Friday, while violence and intimidation claimed the life of a worker on Friday, while subsidiary stakeholders, including NEASA, decried monopoly of the bargaining table.
“We have an offer above what employers have tabled before. We still have to take it before our members. We cannot disclose details, but it still has to go through our structures. For now, the strike continues,” Numsa’s spokesperson, Phakamile Hluni-Madonsela, said yesterday evening.
This was confirmed by SEIFSA’s CEO Lucio Trentini, who said at the last engagement organised labour was made an offer which the industry recognises still has to go before employee processes.
“This offer is above the normal expectations. Employers embarked on lockouts when Numsa decided to go on strike. We are dealing with half the economy we did in 2014. This strike is costing in the region of R250 to R300 million a day. We are waiting on Numsa to come back to us on the revised offer,” SEIFSA’s CEO Lucio Trentini said last night.
At the height of the industrial action last week, an angry motorist ploughed into a group of protesters in Wadeville, killing one worker, wounding several others, prompting Numsa and Seifsa to convey condolences.
National Employers Association of South Africa (NEASA) CEO Gerhard Papienfus said individual employers had different offers unrecognised by NUMSA, but which formed the bone of contention as levels of capability of employers were different.
“They must have a deal with us. Never again will there be one body dictating for everyone in the steel industry, which hasn’t grown in the last 30 years. We made a 4.28 percent offer. We recommend an increase plus CPI to our members,” Papenfus said.
“Industry can give no more than10 percent. We can’t dictate to each business. Each one has its own challenges,” said Papenfus.