Vavi's SAFTU throws weight behind Numsa battle with engineering sector
The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), which Zwelinzima Vavi heads up, is urging its members to support the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa's (NUMSA) fight with employers in the Engineering sector, which it is calling a 'life-or-death struggle' for all workers.
The union issued a statement, saying that it is a "struggle to protect the rights of all workers and their families, and to ensure a life of dignity for them".
Numsa is demanding a 15 per cent wage increase across the board based on the actual rate that a worker earns rather than on the minimum rate, a backdate increase from 1 July 2017, a two year agreement, and an extension of the agreement to non-parties, including non-parties and employer associations like the National Employers Association of South Africa (NEASA) and the Permanent Cosmetic Association of South Africa (PCASA) which fall under the Metal & Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC).
Employers have offered a minimum rate of R20 per hour for new entrants into the sector (the current rate is R40, and the unions argue that the reduced rate offered is based on the ANC's national minimum wage policy), wage increases based on the minimum rate rather than on what the worker is earning and for Numsa to recognize the Plastics Negotiating Forum as a chamber of the MEIBC (Numsa wants them excluded from the main agreement).
Saftu, of which Numsa is an affiliate, is urging its members to support Numsa in fighting employers demands, saying that it would result in new workers suffering "poverty and exploitation" and put the jobs and wage levels of those already employed at greater risk.
Numsa has applied for a certificate of non-resolution, which will allow it to go on strike.
The union says it will know by the weekend whether its planned strike will go ahead.
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