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.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has called on all citizens to join the group, and other organisations including faith-based movements and taxi associations, to put pressure on government to reduce the fuel levy by R1.
At 10h00 on Tuesday 31 July, OUTA and other groups will gather in Church Square, Pretoria, to hand over a memorandum to the National Treasury, calling for the reduction in the general fuel levy.
“South Africans have suffered under the burden of high taxes, maladministration and corruption for far too long. The exorbitant increases in the fuel levy during the Zuma era can be linked to Government’s need to increase its revenue to cover the costs of corruption that have permeated our state and continue to cripple our economy. Government leadership needs to do the right thing and reduce the fuel price by R1, if they are serious about easing consumer pressure, ” says Ben Theron, OUTA COO.
Concerned citizens are encouraged to lend their voices and participate in sending this important message to Government, by assembling at Church Square in Pretoria Central on Tuesday 31 July. In addition, social media activists can change their profile pic in the build-up and on the day of the march. OUTA will be making images available on www.outa.co.za.
“OUTA is an a-political organisation, that encourages people and movements from all sectors, including parties and labour unions to join us on Tuesday,” adds Theron.
In case you needed another reminder that girls really do run the world, it turns out the Women’s March caused a huge spike in office supply sales in the United States during the week before the protest took place.
With an estimated 4,2-million attendees nationwide, the march for gender equality is widely regarded as the largest demonstration in American history, and judging from poster board and marker sales, it also involved an astronomical amount of clever signage.
Fortune reported that the NDP Group, a market research company, looked at the January sales figures for office supplies like posters, scissors, and tape — the stuff you would need to make, say, a homemade “Love Trumps Hate” sign. According to the report, more than 6.5 million poster boards were sold over the course of the month, with nearly one-third sold during the week before the Women’s March. Poster board sales were up 33 percent overall compared to the same time last year, and foam boards were up a whopping 42%.
Writing and crafting tools were up as well. Glue and tape sales spiked 27% and 12%, respectively, and marker sales went up by up to 35%.
The result? Millions of feminist signs demonstrating for gender equality on 21 January 2017.
Clearly, the Women’s March didn’t just provide an outlet for the frustration and anxiety felt by many Americans after the results of the presidential election. It gathered together millions of women and men, and as the sales figures demonstrate, the members of the Women’s March wield substantial financial power.
In fact, although women’s economic power is often downplayed or outright ignored, past research has suggested that they will become “financial powerhouses” by 2020, and they drive around three-quarters of consumer purchasing.
Activists have harnessed economic power for political good in campaigns like #GrabYourWallet, which boycotted retailers carrying Trump products, and the Bodega strike led by Yemeni business owners in protest of the first immigration ban. More recently, the Day Without a Woman — organized by the leaders of the Women’s March — called for women to take the day off from work, unpaid labor, and shopping, demonstrating women’s vital contributions to the economy and society as a whole.
In conclusion? Women are an economic force to be reckoned with, and it’s long past time businesses took note. In the meantime, be sure to spend your own money wisely and ethically.
By Claire Warner for www.bustle.com