Back to work for engineering sector employees

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pretoria - An agreement ending a two-week strike in the engineering sector is to be signed later this morning, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said.

"The agreement will be signed this morning at 11am at the Bargaining Council of Metal Workers," Numsa deputy general secretary, Karl Cloete, said on Monday.

Workers downed tools on 4 July, along with the Metal and Electrical Workers' Union (Mewusa) and the SA Equity Workers' Association (Saewa), demanding pay increases of between 10 and 13 percent. Under Numsa's leadership, thousands of engineering workers are also demanding a ban on labour brokers. The union called off the strike on Sunday.

Cloete said the agreement included a 10 percent pay rise for the lowest paid worker as of 1 July, while those in higher rates such as artisans, would receive an 8 percent increase.

He said employers have been asked to grant workers "a 48-hour grace period to return to work", adding that some workers would report for work today.

Last week, a first draft wage settlement was given to labour, after which the union's National Executive Committee looked at the proposal on Wednesday and Thursday. The union reported back to workers at the weekend.

Bilateral negotiations were held last week between the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA) -- which is a national employer federation representing the metal and engineering industry -- and Numsa.

Meanwhile, the pay strike in the petrol sector is expected to grow bigger from today after Solidarity reportedly said on Sunday its mostly skilled members at Sasol will join the strike, which has left scores of fuel pumps dry.