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numsa

Numsa union demands 15% wage hike in coal sector

JOHANNESBURG – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has demanded Glencore raise coal mining wages by 15%, Numsa said on Tuesday, almost triple the inflation rate of 4.6%.

Numsa also said it was pushing for an increase of 20% in all allowances. The union is scheduled to meet with the Chamber of Mines on Tuesday to discuss wages.

 

Source: Mining Weekly

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

Numsa to demand 15% increase in engineering sector wage talks

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has said it would demand a 15% wage increase across the board as wage talks in the metal and engineering sector begin on Wednesday.

The metal sector wage talks are brought about as the current wage agreement lapses at the end of this month.

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

Numsa general secretary, Irvin Jim, said in a statement that the union was calling on all employers to negotiate in good faith and with the aim of reaching a settlement which will satisfy everyone this year, especially its members.

“Numsa has been mandated by over 129,000 workers in the sector to negotiate better wages and working conditions for our members and their families,” Jim said.

“We have three simple demands. We demand a 15% wage increase across the board based on the actual rate that workers are earning, and not on the minimum rate. We demand an extension of the current agreement for two years. In this period all outstanding issues must be finalised.”

Jim said Numsa would also demand the extension of the agreement to non-parties.

This includes non-parties like the National Employers Association of South Africa (Neasa) and the Plastics Convertors Association of South Africa (Pcasa) who fall under the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC).

Jim accused Neasa of deliberately undermining the MEIBC, saying that the employers association wished to collapse the bargaining council for its own selfish purposes.

In 2014, there were back and forth applications at the Labour Court in Johannesburg to stop the extension to other unions of the 2011-2014 metal sector wage agreement struck with the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA (Seifsa).

“Organisations like Neasa deliberately undermine the bargaining process. They have not made any contributions to the MEIBC,” Jim said.

Source : Engineering News

Govt won’t intervene in Neasa lock-out

The Labour Department says it is not going to intervene in the lock-out of workers by the National Employers’ Association of South Africa’s (Neasa’s) members.

The department says Neasa are well within their rights to lock out workers, despite a 10% wage increase agreement earlier this week to end the month long strike in the sector.

They say the lockout can only end when the Minister of Labour is asked to extend the agreement.

Meanwhile, the employer body is adamant that the decision by its members to engage in a lock-out of workers that participated in the recent Metal Industry strike, will stand despite threats from both the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa and the Congress of South African Trade Union.

Speaking on AM Live, Acting Director-General for Labour Market Relations at the department, Thembinkosi Mkaliphi says there is nothing they can do, but they are hoping the lock-out will end soon.

Source – SABC News

Neasa not fazed by Numsa, Cosatu threats

Johannesburg – The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (Neasa) is adamant that the decision by its members to engage in a lock-out of workers that participated in the recent metal industry strike will stand despite threats from both Numsa and Cosatu.

On Wednesday Cosatu in the Western Cape threatened to close down companies that are participating in the lock-out.

The threat by Cosatu Western Cape came on the same day that Numsa threatened Neasa with court action if it does not suspend the current lock-out against Numsa and four other unions.

Neasa, which has 22 members and employs about 70 000 workers, maintains that the lock-out is legal and that a right to a lock-out enjoys the same constitutional protection as the right to strike.
‘Companies in the metal industry have just endured a violent four week strike, where employees were prevented, through extreme forms of violence and intimidation, to execute their right to work,” said says Neasa CEO Gerhard Papenfus.

“There were instances where employees were dragged out of offices and assaulted, where business owners’ lives were threatened, businesses were forced to close their doors, properties damaged and interdicts obtained to curb the violence and destruction were treated with contempt.”

He said employers were forced to look on while these events unfolded, at times without police protection.

“Now that Numsa is faced with similar action, but without their members’ lives being threatened nor threats of assault nor their property being destroyed, Numsa wants to mobilise against these businesses,” said Papenfus.

They threaten to close down businesses that execute their constitutional right, according to Neasa.

“Numsa and Cosatu Western Cape clearly stand for a one-sided form of democracy. They are very quick to claim the benefits of their version of democracy and are very quick to point out any so-called undemocratic behaviour, but they are clearly not interested to illustrate democratic principles when the shoe is on the other foot,” said Papenfus.

“When the situation does not suit them, they utilise the tyranny of numbers. In all of this they, however, show their true colours.”

He said the real test comes when things happen which one cannot control.

“It then shows whether you really belief in freedom of expression and constitutional liberty, whether it comes from the heart or whether it is only something you’ll use when it is convenient to you,” said Papenfus.
“The current differences between Neasa and Numsa will not be resolved through threats and legal action, but through the appropriate channels -something Neasa was denied during the most crucial portion of the recent round of wage negotiations.”

Neasa refused to sign the offer, saying it had been sidelined in the negotiation process facilitated by the labour department.

Over 200 000 Numsa members in the metal and engineering sector downed tools on July 1, demanding a salary increase of 12%, down from their pre-strike demand of 15%.

They then revised their demand to 10%.

They also demanded a R1 000 housing allowance and a total ban on labour brokers.

In terms of the new wage deal, workers would get increases of between 8% and 10%, depending on whether they were high or low earners.

Source – Fin24

No deal yet as NUMSA talks stumble

Cape Town – The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) will continue striking, despite regional branches accepting a government proposed wage offer, two union sources said on Friday.

The stoppage won’t end because the union rejected conditions relating to future pay negotiations.

“The strike will continue because we have problems with changing Section 37. They want to make the union weak and toothless,” one union source told Reuters.

Another source said Numsa was open to meeting with employers over the weekend to try and broker an end to the strike, which is crimping economic growth.

Numsa officials declined to comment, saying their official position would be articulated at a news conference on Sunday.

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA (Seifsa) on Tuesday ”reluctantly” accepted a government-brokered deal that includes wage increases of 10% to low-level employees over the next three years.

However, its acceptance was conditional and it also issued a warning over heavy job losses.

Seifsa insisted on a tightening of the Section 37 clause that is meant to prevent unions “double-dipping”, or pressing for new demands at a factory or company level in spite of an existing industry-wide wage deal.

On Thursday, Numsa expressed fears that an amendment by employers to the new wage offer will result in retrenchments or restructuring in the next three years, according to a report by Reuters.

“The employers are causing trouble and making hasty demands,” Numsa deputy general secretary Karl Cloete told reporters in Johannesburg.

“They want to freeze history… Employers are hell-bent on not finding a speedy resolution.”

Over 200 000 Numsa members in the metal and engineering sector downed tools on July 1, demanding a salary increase of 12%, down from their pre-strike demand of 15%. They also demanded a R1 000 housing allowance and a total ban on labour brokers.

The stoppage has been marred by heavy intimidation and violence.

Source  - Reuters, Sapa

 

 

Wages take back seat over “Peace Clause” fight

THE National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says its striking members are likely to reject the current offer by employers, unless it is adapted to preserve the rights of workers to take action over shop-floor issues after a collective deal is struck.

The union has had 220,000 members on strike since July 1, and has been given until Friday to respond to a three-year double-digit wage deal.

Numsa warned on Thursday that an employers’ proposal to amend a clause in the agreement — meant to ensure labour stability — was “reckless” and could backfire.

The contentious issue is the “peace clause”, which is meant to provide certainty to employers after an agreement has been negotiated in collective bargaining; that employers will not face strikes and then have to contend with additional and unforeseen costs.

Companies are concerned that two Labour Court judgments this year open the “back door” for additional demands by unions.

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) said this week its 2,200 members had “reluctantly” agreed to a three-year deal ranging from 7%-10%.

The amendment to the wording of the peace clause was proposed, employers have said, to create clarity on the scope of collective agreements.

Seifsa CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba said this week the changes to the “peace clause” were necessary to reaffirm the original intention of the bargaining process, that it cover all matters that could add to the material cost of employment.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said this would give businesses “unfettered” power to drive workplace changes without unions being able to oppose them with actions such as strikes. It should be seen as a “frontal attack” on the power of organised labour.

Employers fear that a two-tier bargaining system would emerge without the amendment.

But Numsa said its record of more than two decades of deals was proof it did not “double dip”, as the practice is known.

“If employers insist on (the amendment) we would not have negotiations every three years. We would have negotiations every six months,” he said.

The Numsa national leadership was to convene last night to get feedback on its two-day regional mandating process, which will determine how to proceed with the negotiations. It is understood Seifsa and Numsa continued talks on the “peace clause” on Thursday. This means Numsa has not made any final decision, but Mr Jim said on Thursday it was considering whether it could agree to the amendment if employers made concessions on a similar level. These could include moratoriums on retrenchments and restructuring, he said.

The National Employers Association of South Africa, the second-largest employer body by workforce, supports Seifsa’s proposal, but has indicated it would not sign off on an agreement, CEO Gerhard Papenfus said on Thursday.

Seifsa has claimed that the strike was costing the economy about R300m a day. Economists and the Reserve Bank have warned of the damage to the economy if the strike is protracted.

The association still maintains that its members cannot afford an increase above 8%, and has not dropped a demand that would see minimum wages at new companies halved in the interest of business and job creation.

United Association of South Africa director for metals Johan van Niekerk said on Thursday the union would present a suggestion to the council that might address the issue.

Source – BD Live by Karl Gernetzky

Peace clause’ delaying end to Numsa strike

Johannesburg – A strike in the metal and engineering sector, which is costing the economy millions every day, is unlikely to end this week as employers are demanding that unions effectively give up their bargaining rights at company level.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is getting feedback from its 220 000 members in the sector on whether to accept the latest wage offer.

While the union is content with the salary increase, a major sticking point is a so-called “peace clause”. It prevents unions from pursuing other issues, which are not in the three-year deal, at plant or company level. This means Numsa would have to wait three years until the national bargaining council sits again to raise new issues.

“Take the escalating cost of living. If workers want a transport allowance, they will have to wait three years to negotiate,” Numsa spokesman Castro Ngobese said on Wednesday.

The clause, which employers are adamant should be in the agreement as it prevents what they call double-dipping, will also make it difficult for Numsa to make deals on future retrenchments, and its members will not be allowed to down tools for three years. Employer bodies have already warned that job cuts are imminent in the sector because the wage increases on offer are too high for smaller companies.

The new wage proposal was negotiated with the help of the Labour Department which is anxious to see the strike end soon. It has been marred by violence, and employers estimate it is costing the country R300 million a day.

The proposal includes low-level workers earning an increase of 10 percent for the next three years.

One of the two main bodies representing employers, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa), has “reluctantly” accepted the new proposal. However, this is on condition that Numsa agrees that section 37, also known as the peace clause, of the main agreement of the sector be tightened up.

Seifsa has given Numsa until Friday to accept its terms.

Another hurdle to an end to the strike is that the other main employer body, the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (Neasa), has turned down the Labour Department’s proposal. Neasa, which represents small businesses, refuses to budge from an 8 percent wage hike offer, saying its members cannot afford to pay anything more.

While Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant may try to extend the deal to all companies, as Seifsa represents the majority of employers, Neasa has said it will challenge the matter in the Labour Court.

Source – IOL

Numsa takes latest pay offer to members

Johannesburg – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) took the latest pay offer to its members for approval on Wednesday in a fresh effort to end a three-week strike that has halted output at several car factories.

More than 200 000 metal and engineering workers led by Numsa stopped work on July 2 demanding higher wages.

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (Seifsa) on Tuesday “reluctantly” agreed to raise salaries by as much as 10% and gave unions until Friday to make up their minds.

“The strike continues and has not been suspended. Our members, at the coal face of the strike, will make the final decision on whether to end the strike or not,” Numsa spokesperson Castro Ngobese said in a statement.

Ngobese said Numsa would hold meetings in the next two days to solicit feedback from members about the offer, which Seifsa has said would “inevitably lead to massive job losses”.

The industrial action, which has also disrupted work at construction sites of two vital power stations for Eskom, has dealt a further blow to the economy reeling from a five-month walkout in the platinum mines.

Source – Fin24

Bosses warn of metal sector jobs bloodbath

Johannesburg – The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (Seifsa) “reluctantly”accepted a government proposal to raise wages by up to 10%, it said on Tuesday.

Seifsa said striking unions had until Friday to accept the offer, which it warned could lead to heavy job losses.

Under the proposal put forward by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, Seifsa agreed to raise wages by between 7% and 10% over the next three years.

This would “inevitably lead to massive job losses” as companies sought to cut costs because they would not be able to pass on the increases to their customers, Seifsa chief executive Kaizer Nyatsumba said in a statement.

The Federation also said it would not sign the agreement unless parts of the country’s current wage negotiation guidelines were amended to scrap two-tier bargaining at the plant and national level.

It was not immediately clear if the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and other smaller unions would accept the deal.

Source – News24