South Africa’s metalworkers union readies to strike
South Africa's largest union said on Sunday that a strike by more than 200,000 engineering and metal workers was going ahead next week, as there had been "no progress with the negotiations".
Members of the powerful National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) are set to down tools on July 1, with potentially crippling results for a number of key industries.
“As we have still made no progress with the negotiations, we are reminding everyone that our demands include a 12 percent wage increase,” the union’s general secretary, Irvin Jim, said.
The demand which is nearly double the inflation rate of 6.6 percent has been revised down from 15 percent since talks started in March.
Sectors including telecoms, electrical engineering, steel and plastics will be affected by the open-ended strike.
Employees of the automotive industry, which held major stoppages last year, will not take part but the sector is likely to be hit by strikes by component workers.
Jim said company bosses had remained “stubborn and intransigent” during a series of negotiations with the union.
“We met with the bosses on Friday night to tell them the strike is ongoing,” Jim told journalists.
The union will hold solidarity pickets in various major cities on Wednesday, and are due to be joined by civil society groups and employees of Eskom, the state-owned power generation firm.
The union did not rule out the possibility of a strike at Eskom as ongoing wage negotiations with the firm have stalled.
South Africa has just seen an end to a five month platinum mines strike, the country’s longest ever.