The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) has declared a counter dispute against the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) after the union refused to accept the federation’s proposed wage offer.
The offer was made at the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council, on July 28, with other unions, including Uasa and Solidarity, indicating a willingness to accept the offer.
The council has scheduled a special management committee meeting for August 10, for the negotiating parties to discuss the deadlock.
Seifsa suggested that workers receive a 4.4% increase this year, a consumer price inflation (CPI) plus 0.5% increase in 2022 and a CPI plus 1% increase in 2023.
The wage offer includes a special phase-in dispensation that is aimed at encouraging greater support for centralised collective bargaining. The phase-in dispensation will be offered to employers who are currently paying below the current minimum rates and are not members of an employer organisation that is party to the main agreement.
Seifsa says centralised collective bargaining is more necessary than ever before to ensure the survival and recovery of the industry.
“Seifsa remains resolute that its settlement offer is the best way forward to ensure a sustainable metals and engineering industry in these uncertain economic times.
“More than ever, we need to find the right balance of protecting jobs, ensuring fair wages and making sure that companies are able to keep their doors open,” Seifsa CEO Lucio Trentini says, adding that the federation remains committed to continuing negotiations with a view to finding common ground.