ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) expressed its disappointment on Wednesday, following the publication of a statement by National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) on Tuesday, that claimed that some AMSA employees are forced to work even if conditions are dangerous.
Numsa, which has been on strike at AMSA’s operations nationally since March 11, further claimed that AMSA refused to insource contract workers, while paying contract workers less for doing the same work as permanent employees.
“AMSA stated that it will only insource contract workers after three years, but it will result in retrenchments,” the union said.
AMSA responded that Numsa was referring to two issues – the insourcing of Real Tree contract employees within AMSA and a 2016 investigation that resulted in the dismissal of two Numsa shop stewards.
“Numsa is demanding that AMSA offer permanent employment to Real Tree employees; however, Real Tree is an independent registered service provider that secures contracts from AMSA through a tender process.
“Despite the fact that Numsa has not followed the provisions of the Recognition Agreement before bringing this demand to the company, AMSA, in an attempt to common ground, proposed to embark on a process over the next three years to insource some critical skills currently employed at service providers, such as Real Tree, with due regard to contractual obligations,” AMSA said.
With regard to the 2016 investigation, AMSA noted that, despite the matter already having been investigated and the Metals and Engineering Industry Bargaining Council of South Africa having found in favour of AMSA, the company has, in order to resolve this, agreed to a second investigation into the matter.
The proposal has not been accepted by Numsa during the conciliation engagement, which the parties held on Monday at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, and Numsa has made further demands, including the reinstatement of one of the Numsa shop stewards who was dismissed in 2016.
Further, AMSA “vehemently” denied the assertions made by Numsa that employees, whether permanent or contract, are in any way placed at risk when working for or at the company.
AMSA said it had, in 2017, appointed 154 safety custodians to monitor contractors’ application of safety standards and procedures.
The strike by Numsa members is ongoing.