Strike season open

wage talks strike Strike season open

About 200 000 workers set to down tools as talks reach deadlock

The wage-bargaining “season” is rapidly devolving into deadlocks in diverse sectors of the economy, paving the way for strikes involving up to 200 000 workers.

Apart from the automotive sector, the country’s gold mines, clothing factories and construction sites are poised to strike in relation to wage talks.

In addition, unions at Anglo Platinum are mulling a strike in relation to the company’s controversial restructuring which, it was announced this week, will now affect 6 900 workers.

The strike called out at the beginning of the week by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) at the country’s seven vehicle manufacturers was still ongoing on Friday, while the gold sector’s wage talks took a turn for the worse with two unions receiving certificates of non-resolution from the CCMA.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Uasa are now both preparing for the strike, while the Association of Mining and Construction Union (Amcu) and Solidarity will resume talks with the Chamber of Mines tomorrow.

City Press understands the gold mines agreed to the issuing of the certificate before the usual 30 days of mediated talks – on condition that the strike only gets called out after next week.

The NUM has also declared a deadlock in talks at the National Negotiating Forum for the Civil Engineering Industry. Its roughly 90 000 members in the construction industry will down tools at construction sites “all over”, said union spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka.

The employer group in the forum, the SA Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors, represents construction firms including WBHO, Group Five, Murray & Roberts, Aveng and Grinaker LTA. The NUM and its peer, the Building Construction and Allied Workers’ Union, whose 50 000 members will also strike, use the forum to negotiate employment conditions above and beyond the sector’s sectoral determination.

Clothing union Sactwu has been conducting strike ballots at clothing factories over the past week and has declared that the majority of members are in favour of a strike.

Sactwu claims 50 000 membership in clothing factories, although close to half the employers have distanced themselves from the sector’s bargaining council and refused to be bound by its agreements after years of growing animosity between it and especially factories in the so-called non-metro areas.

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