News / Economy

Striking South African Workers Consider Latest Wage Proposal

Members of the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) march on the first day of a nationwide strike in Johannesburg, July 1, 2014.Members of the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) march on the first day of a nationwide strike in Johannesburg, July 1, 2014.
x
Members of the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) march on the first day of a nationwide strike in Johannesburg, July 1, 2014.
Members of the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) march on the first day of a nationwide strike in Johannesburg, July 1, 2014.
James Butty

The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA), the country’s largest labor union, is considering the latest offer from employers aimed at ending a three-week strike in the country’s steel and engineering sector.  

At the intervention of the Labor Ministry, the Steel and Engineering Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) agreed Tuesday to increase by 10 percent the salaries of three categories of workers over the next three years.

But, SEIFSA reportedly threatened to take back the offer if the workers do not accept it by Friday.

Vuyo Lufele, Secretary-General for NUMSA in Western Cape Province, said the workers have long wanted a double-digit wage increase and are likely to accept the 10 percent offer. 

But, he said if the employers want the strike to end, they should drop their demand to amend Section 37 of the collective bargaining agreement, which bars both employers and the union from renegotiating issues already agreed on. 

“The employers have offered, finally, 10 percent for three years.  But now, they’ve done that with a condition attached.  You remember, there’s a Section 37 of our collective bargaining agreement, which states that, if agreement has been signed, for the duration of the agreement no trade union will be allowed to negotiate on anything that is part of the collective agreement,” he said.

Vuyo said the union will put the employers’ latest offer before its members of more than 200,000 workers and report to the national executive committee on the way forward.

But, he said NUMSA members will oppose employers unless they drop their demand to amend Section 37.

He said the 10 percent offer will increase the salaries of three categories of workers over the next three years.

“This 10 percent covers a majority of our workers because, from the first year, Grades F, G and H will get 10 percent.  And, on the second year, Grade G and H will get 10 percent, and then, on the third year, Grade H will get 10 percent.  This is a proposed agreement that is coming from the Department of Labor and the facilitator, and employers are willing to give it to the workers, but with the condition that workers give up Section 37,” he said.

Vuyo said he thinks workers would be willing to accept the 10 percent offer, but he reiterated that, if the employers want the strike to end, they should drop their demand to amend Section 37 of the bargaining agreement.

SEIFSA has reportedly said the strike is costing the industry over $28-million per day, and South Africa’s Reserve Bank Governor has said the strike will lead to a slowdown in economic growth if it does not end soon.

Butty interview with Lufele
Butty interview with Lufelei
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

 

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7722
JPY
USD
107.08
GBP
USD
0.6171
CAD
USD
1.1041
INR
USD
61.075

Rates may not be current.