The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, NUMSA has begun an indefinite strike as their persistent clamour for pay rise has been ignored by their employers. The strike action constitutes great threat to supply of needed parts and accessories in the automobile industry.
The total shutdown came after wage talks with employer bodies reached a deadlock and arbitration failed.
Recently, the union organised marches and rallies across the country in downtown Johannesburg where protesters showed their grievances with placards “An injury to one is an injury to all”.
NUMSA had sought an 8 percent across-the-board wage rise in the first year of a pay deal, and an increase equal to the rate of inflation plus 2 percent for the following two years. Annual inflation is currently at about 5 percent.
Industry body, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa had offered 4.4 percent for the 2021 inflation, 0.5 percent for 2022 and 1 percent for the third year.
Plans are ongoing to reach a mutual and acceptable compromise with NUMSA so as to prevent a repeat of the four weeks strike in 2014 which cost the economy an estimated 6 billion rand($398m) in lost output.
South Africa’s economy is yet to recover from the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, the reason employers are reluctant to give in to union demands for above -inflation salary raise.