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STEEL INDUSTRY: NEASA Recommends Increase to Members

Oct 20, 2021



By Gerhard Papenfus


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The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA) has recommended to its members in the Metal and Engineering Sector to unilaterally implement a 5%, across the board, increase for employees who are not currently out on strike. Although NEASA’s recommendation is not binding on employer members, such a recommendation carries a lot of weight with members and the majority of employers will implement it.

NEASA is, in principle, opposed to a ‘one-size-fits-all’ collective bargaining approach, which characterised negotiations in the Sector for decades. It is the aforesaid approach that caused the high levels of deindustrialisation in the Industry.

For the Industry to grow, businesses, especially SMMEs, have to be free to conduct their business and to determine levels of remuneration that suits their particular circumstances. Interference in this dynamic causes businesses to fail, which results in increased levels of unemployment and consequently socio-economic instability.

Despite a number of engagements between stakeholders in the Steel Industry, the strike in this Sector has continued into its third week as a result of the parties being unable to find common ground.

The rejection of all offers, from various employer bodies, by NUMSA, and the continuing strike have placed the livelihoods of NUMSA members, as well as the other employees that NUMSA has forced out of the workplace, in jeopardy, and is also threatening the survival of the employers impacted by the strike.

The violence and intimidation during the strike, have once again confirmed that NUMSA has lost the popular support of workers in the Steel Industry, and that these tactics are the only weapon they possess to coerce workers to participate in strike action. If not for this violence and intimidation, the production in steel companies would have continued almost unaffected.

We therefore call on the NUMSA leadership to allow those employees who are unwillingly participating in the strike, and wish to return to work, to freely do so.

The strike has come at a time when the Industry is still suffering from the effects of decades of unaffordable wage dispensations, forced upon the Industry through unlawful extensions of inappropriate agreements, and the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, all while trying to rebuild in an already depressed economy.

It is NEASA’s hope that common sense will prevail and that employees, who are not motivated by NUMSA’s ideological ideals, will return to work in order to save jobs and prevent the further decline of the Industry.

For more information:
NEASA Media Department


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