THE National Union of Metalworkers Union (NUMSA) has joined other workers, including public servants, in demanding above-inflation wage increases.
NUMSA said on Tuesday it will embark on a wage strike at ArcelorMittal SA support of a 10% wage demand from Wednesday after serving the company with a 48-hour strike notice.
The union said metalworkers will be picketing at three main AMSA plants in Vanderbijlpark, Pretoria and Newcastle.
AMSA is offering 5%, in line with the 5.8% headline inflation the Reserve Bank has forecast for 2022, saying its offer is higher than the 5.5% average that has been implemented in the steel sector, where importers face a normal import duty of 10% plus a further 8% safeguard duty.
“The bosses have tabled a final offer of only 5% across the board. They are also offering workers 2% of their salaries in cash as a monthly amount. We reject this proposal. What is a 5% increase for the lowest paid worker who earns approximately R7000? It is not much at all. At the same time, the 2% cash payout is not an across the board increase. It will not result in increases in pension cover. Workers at AMSA have not had meaningful increases in two years,” the union said in a statement.
“For 2020 and 2021 workers were given a two per cent increase and this was imposed on them in 2021. AMSA are claiming in their propaganda that they have the best pay scales in the sector. This is simply not true! Workers at AMSA are exploited and paid very low salaries, considering the size of the organization. Our members are struggling to make ends meet, whilst the greedy bosses rake in obscene profits.”
NUMSA embarked on an eight-week strike in the metals and engineering sector in 2021, demanding an 8% wage increase. It ended up settling for a 6% offer, with striking employees forfeiting about R300m in wages, while the industry lost R600m worth of output.