News / Africa

Union: South Africa Engineering Strike to Begin July 1

FILE - The cooling towers at Eskom's coal-powered Lethabo power station are seen near Sasolburg, South Africa.
FILE - The cooling towers at Eskom's coal-powered Lethabo power station are seen near Sasolburg, South Africa.
Reuters

More than 220,000 members of South Africa's NUMSA engineering and metalworkers union will down tools on July 1 after last-ditch wage talks to avert a strike failed, its leaders said on Sunday.

Irvin Jim, secretary-general of South Africa's largest union, said NUMSA members would also picket the headquarters of state power utility Eskom on July 2 as part of a push for a wage increase of 12 percent, nearly twice the current inflation rate.

Eskom, which produces nearly all the electricity in Africa's most advanced economy, is defined as an “essential service,” making strikes by its workers illegal.

However, Jim told a news conference that if the union did not get its demands, NUMSA might be left with “no option but to allow our members to liberate themselves.”

“We are going for Eskom. There's no two ways about it,” he said. “We are doing a picketing. It's a build-up.”

Platinum mine strike

South Africa is still reeling from a five-month strike in the platinum mines that ended with a wage settlement last week, but not before dragging the economy into contraction in the first three months of the year.

The latest strike is likely to hit engineering firms such as Bell Equipment and industrial group Dorbyl, but the big fear is that a prolonged stoppage in car component factories could affect the important automotive sector.

A four-week strike in 2013 by more than 30,000 NUMSA members at major auto makers cost the industry around $2 billion.

The government has been trying to prevent any more damage to the economy. But its ability to sway NUMSA is limited after the union - once a political ally of the ruling African National Congress - fell out with the party last year because of policy disagreements.

NUMSA is South Africa's largest union with around 340,000 members, although only around two-thirds of these are planning to go on strike.

It has nearly 10,000 workers at Eskom, and if they down tools it could hamper the utility's ability to keep the lights on, already a daily battle because of razor-thin margins between power supply and demand.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid