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Numsa rejects 5.3% wage offer in engineering sector

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has rejected the 5.3 percent wage offer made by employers in the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) on Friday.

This comes after Numsa tabled a demand for 15 percent wage increase across the board to the employers in the two-day wage talks that began on Wednesday. The metal and engineering sector talks come as the current wage agreement lapses at the end of June.

Numsa is demanding a 15 percent wage increase across the board based on the actual rate that workers are earning, not on the minimum rate, and an extension of the current agreement for two years.

Numsa also wants all outstanding issues finalised, as well as the extension of the agreement to non-parties, including the National Employers Association of South Africa (Neasa) and the Plastics Converters Association of South Africa (Pcasa) who fall under the MEIBC.

But employers propose, among other things, a three-year wage agreement offering of 5.3 percent across the board for the first year of the agreement based on the minimum rate, and not the actual rate that workers are currently earning.

Numsa acting spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi, said the union was shocked by the employers offer and the union rejected it with the contempt it deserves.

“The proposal can only be described as a down variation of the basic working conditions of workers and an erosion of all the gains we have made in the last 23 years,” Hlubi said.

“Furthermore, we are horrified that employers want trade unions to help them to violating the basic principles of equal pay for work of equal value by offering new entrants to the sector only half of what they deserve.”

Hlubi said they are now demanding that employers go back to the drawing board and come up with a better proposal when they meet again on Thursday next week.

“We demand that they draft a proposal which demonstrates that they view our members and their families as human beings who deserve to work to improve their own lives. Their proposal proves what we have always said about the racist exploitative nature of the employers in the Engineering sector,” Hlubi said.

In 2014, Numsa went on strike after talks for a living wage and improved working conditions in the metal sector reached deadlock with employers.

Source : Engineering News