Wednesday, January 26

Striking steel workers will return to work on Monday


  • The strike by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) of workers in the steel and engineering sector has ended.
  • They have reached a three-year salary agreement with the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) employers’ association.
  • Under the agreement, the highest paid workers will get a raise of around 5% and the lowest paid workers will get a 6% raise.
  • This will be implemented immediately and workers will receive retroactive payments starting July 1, 2021.

Steel and engineering workers who have been participating in the nearly three-week strike for higher wages led by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) are due to report to work on Monday.

The union on Thursday accepted a three-year offer from the employers’ association, the South African Steel and Engineering Industries Federation (SEIFSA).

The agreement establishes that the highest paid workers (artisans) will receive approximately a 5% increase of R4.24 per hour during the first year and R4.45 during the second year and R4.67 the third year. The lowest paid workers will receive a 6% increase of R2.97 per hour during the first year, R3.15 for the second and R3.34 in the third year.

“The offer will be implemented immediately and workers will receive their retroactive payment from July 1, 2021. This includes the implementation of the rest of the package of the agreement reached between NUMSA and SEIFSA,” said Irvin Jim, NUMSA Secretary General during a press conference in Johannesburg. . He said workers will return to work no later than Monday.

The strike started on October 5, after unions and employers’ associations in the steel and engineering sector came to a standstill. The workers demanded a salary increase of 8%.

Last week, NUMSA initially rejected SEIFSA offer of a 6% increase, requiring that the increase be calculated based on what companies actually pay workers and not the minimum rates established by the Main Agreement of the Metallurgical and Engineering Industries Negotiation Council (MEIBC).

Jim said the strike was a victory for the workers because it was only after the NUMSA strike began on October 5 that SEIFSA increased its wage offer from 4.4% to 6%.

Once the agreement is endorsed by MEIBC’s management committee, Jim said the union will request Labor Minister Thulas Nxesi to record the agreement in a bulletin and extend it to non-parties in accordance with the Labor Relations Act and the Constitution of MEIBC.

Workers affiliated with the South African Metal and Electric Workers Union (MEWUSA) also accepted SEIFSA’s offer and the union signed the agreement on Thursday afternoon. “The strike was taking its toll on workers because for every day they didn’t work, they were not being paid,” said Peter Madigoe, MEWUSA’s deputy general secretary.

“We are immensely pleased that the strike is finally over. Now it is up to all stakeholders in the metals and engineering sector to work collectively to rebuild and grow the sector, ”said Lucio Trentini, CEO of SEIFSA.

© 2021 GroundUp. This article was published for the first time here.


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