Numsa ac­cused to hold talks to ran­som

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Sandile Mchunu

THE SA EN­GI­NEERS and Founders As­so­ci­a­tion (Saefa) has slammed the Na­tional Union of Me­tal­work­ers of SA (Numsa) for hold­ing the wage talks to ran­som and de­mand­ing a wage in­crease that was far above the coun­try’s in­fla­tion rate.

Numsa’s sec­re­tary-gen­eral Irvin Jim is­sued a warn­ing on Tues­day that the union in­tended to take in­dus­trial ac­tion to “shut down” the coun­try’s en­gi­neer­ing sec­tor.

Saefa hit back yes­ter­day and said that it seemed that Numsa did not re­ally have the de­sire to avoid strike ac­tion, de­spite the mas­sive fi­nan­cial reper­cus­sions this would have on all em­ploy­ees in the sec­tor.

Saefa ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Gor­don An­gus said the move by the union was not un­ex­pected, but it was en­tirely un­nec­es­sary.

“Saefa has been aware of Numsa’s ap­par­ent de­sire to ini­ti­ate strike ac­tion, seem­ingly at any cost as ev­i­denced by their un­will­ing­ness to par­tic­i­pate mean­ing­fully in any of the dis­pute meet­ings thus far,” An­gus said.

‘Ab­surd of­fer’

Jim claimed that the em­ploy­ers were im­pos­ing a strike on to them by forc­ing them into this un­de­sir­able po­si­tion be­cause of the ab­surd of­fer they have placed on the ta­ble.

“We are call­ing on ev­ery con­cerned stake­holder to knock sense to the in­tran­si­gent group of em­ploy­ers that have been frus­trat­ing the process of ne­go­ti­a­tions, or else we will shut down the en­tire econ­omy on a scale which this coun­try has never seen be­fore,” Jim said.

Numsa is de­mand­ing a 15 per­cent wage in­crease across the board based on the ac­tual rate work­ers are earn­ing, not on the new min­i­mum rate.

Mean­while em­ploy­ers pro­posed, among other things, a three-year wage agree­ment of­fer­ing of 5.3 per­cent wage hike across the board for the first year of the agree­ment based on the min­i­mum rate, and not the ac­tual rate that work­ers were earn­ing.

An­gus chas­tised Numsa for their un­will­ing­ness to budge on their “un­re­al­is­tic” 15 per­cent in­crease or to dis­cuss the other de­mands made by em­ploy­ers and said this pro­vided a clear in­di­ca­tion that the or­gan­i­sa­tion al­ways had the sole in­ten­tion of ini­ti­at­ing a strike.

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