“The national executive committee has agreed to the decision from our members to embark on an indefinite strike action, beginning on July 1,” Cloete said in Johannesburg on Thursday.
The union’s demands include a 12 percent wage increase in a one-year bargaining agreement.
Employers have tabled a three-year wage settlement offer of between seven and eight percent for different levels of workers in the first year, and CPI-linked increases for 2015 and 2016.
Cloete saluted the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union for its five-month platinum mining sector strike. This should stimulate workers in other sectors to demand a “living wage”, he said.
“It has renewed workers’ battle assertion of ‘an injury to one; an injury to all’.”
The engineering and metals industries strike would effect small, medium and large companies, encompassing over 220,000 union members at 10,000 workplaces nation-wide.
Cloete said a strike in these industries would have a “domino effect” as the metals and engineering companies supplied services and goods which almost all other major industries in the country relied on.
On Wednesday, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA (Seifsa) said three months of negotiations had failed to produce a settlement. A deadlock in the talks was declared last month.
The industries’ previous agreement, a three-year deal signed in 2011, would expire on June 30.
Cloete said the union initially demanded a 15 percent wage increase but had subsequently revised this to 12 percent.
“(There will be) no settlement whatsoever unless a double digit increase is achieved,” he said.
Numsa also resolved to embark on a day of protests and marches next Thursday over its wage deadlock with Eskom.
The union demanded a 12 percent across the board increase from Eskom in a one year agreement.
Eskom has offered 5.6 percent.