Strikes to intensify this week

Picture: Neil McCartney.

Picture: Neil McCartney.

The strike by the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa) will intensify this week, as union leaders called on members to remain disciplined and keep protest action civilised.

Numsa’s provincial secretary-general Vuyo Lufele confirmed a union probe into its members possibly being involved in the attack on a petrol attendant who later died at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town last week.

“We can’t just claim the people involved in the attack were from Numsa,” Lufele said yesterday. “We are very concerned by this and expect an announcement from police soon.”

Workers downed tools last week demanding better wages and improved working conditions as part of the strike in the petrol and motor industry. “The strike will continue as workers’ demands were not met during a meeting on Friday,” said Lufele.

“Their demands were already reshuffled and we believe employers have the capacity to end the strike.”

This after the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) indicated continued rejection of the Chamber of Mines mining gold sector wage offer, according to the chamber’s Charmane Russell.

Gold companies, Solidarity, Uasa (United Association of SA) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), signed a wage agreement last week, which saw category four and five employees and rock drill operators receive an 8% wage increase, while other employees received a 7.5% increase.

Amcu is demanding R12 500 for underground workers and R11 500 for surface workers.

“We are looking forward to Amcu’s participation in the implementation of the wage deal which will be backdated to July 1, 2013,” Russell told The Citizen.

Weekend reports indicated that it was too late for Amcu to bargain for wages, as an agreement had already been reached and will be unilaterally implemented.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said the union would not be discouraged, and would find other avenues to pursue in a bid to get the chamber to engage with the union, according to Eyewitness News.

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