South African metalworkers union calls for strike
South Africa's largest union has called for more than 200,000 engineering and metals workers to down tools for higher wages from Tuesday, just days after platinum miners ended a five-month stoppage.
“We are going to strike, we are going to bring the industry to a standstill,” said Karl Cloete, the deputy general secretary of the powerful National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa).
The union’s national executive committee on Thursday “agreed to the decision from our members to embark on an indefinite strike action, beginning on July 1, 2014,” he said.
Cloete said wage negotiations in the sector were deadlocked, with workers demanding a 12-percent wage increase, reduced from an initial demand of 15 percent.
A large number of Numsa’s 220,000 members are employed in the key auto manufacturing and components sector, which already suffered stoppages last year.
Other sectors due to be affected by the strike are the electrical engineering, telecommunications and plastic fabrication industries.
Numsa also called for a stoppage at Eskom, the state-owned power generator, saying negotiations were deadlocked over its proposed wage increase of 5.6 percent for its 10,000 staff.
It said the strike call was “part of a tactic to exert organisational pressure on the bosses to return to the table and present an offer acceptable to our members.”