The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) on Thursday ended the nearly three-week strike after accepting the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) 6% wage increase offer backdated to July.
Numsa – the biggest single trade union in South Africa – said: “We met with SEIFSA and we accepted their offer of 6% on minimums”.
“This includes implementing the rest of the package of the agreement reached between NUMSA and SEIFSA.”
The decision to accept the offer was taken at NUMSA’s Special NEC that was convened Wednesday night.
“Having addressed members, we propose and demand that all employers and all employer associations endorse the offer and the agreement between NUMSA and SEIFSA and end the national engineering sector strike,” said NUMSA.
The strike to press for wage increases began earlier this month on 5 October. The strike reportedly cost R100 million in lost wages in the first week alone and increased thereafter. The cost to the economy was estimated at more than R6 billion.
“All workers in the engineering sector, regardless of which employer association employers affiliate to, deserve their earned increases,” said the union of metal workers.
NUMSA said the union will not rest until all workers receive this increase so that they can have a living wage.
“The essence of the three-year agreement between NUMSA and SEIFSA is that workers will receive this 6% increase on the scheduled rates of pay for year one, year two, and year three on a moving base,” said NUMSA.
“Those workers on higher grades will receive an increase between 5% and 5,5% on the scheduled rates of pay.
“The agreement further safeguards the industry-grade rates of pay and workers will receive their back pay backdated to 1 July 2021.
“We share the table that illustrates the Rand and cents value of increases for each and every grade over the three-year period.”
NUMSA called on all employer associations “to accept that our members should return to work from Friday 22 October and no later than Monday 25 October 2021”.