Trade union Solidarity, along with other unions, on Thursday declared a dispute with employers in the metals and engineering industry over stalled wage negotiations that are currently under way at the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC).
Solidarity deputy general secretary Marius Croucamp said the employers put demands on the table that were not acceptable, but added, “We remain committed to negotiating with a view to achieve a wage settlement.”
Solidarity submitted its new main wage agreement to the council on June 7, demanding an increase of 10%, while the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) sought an increase of 15% on the actual rate of what workers were earning, as opposed to the minimum wage.
On June 9, employers in the MEIBC offered 5.3% across the board for the first year of a three-year agreement based on the minimum rate, which Numsa rejected.
The current wage agreement lapses at the end of June.
Meanwhile, Solidarity earlier this week succeeded in its application to have the MEIBC placed under administration, owing to ongoing financial constraints.
The first of its kind in the country, Croucamp welcomed the judgment by Judge Sean Snyman, noting that it was a necessary step to ensure the MEIBC “is rescued from going under”.