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No one wins in a strike - Numsa

Jan 30 2017 19:02
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is not pleased with the 4% wage increase being proposed by bus employers, following the first round of negotiations.

According to a statement issued by Numsa on Monday, the employers represented by South African Bus Employer’s Association (Sabea) and Commuter Bus Employer’s Organisation (Cobeo), have not engaged on the other demands by the union.

“Employers have until the 9th of February to agree to our demands; otherwise we reserve our right to declare a dispute,” stated the union.

Among the demands proposed by Numsa include a 30% wage increase across the board, a basic salary of R15 000, a R1 500 housing allowance for eligible employees along with a R1 200 sleeping allowance.

READ: Numsa: 30% wage increase for transport workers

Acting spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi previously told Fin24 that the union would only consider a strike once all other options are exhausted.

“Numsa would prefer to avoid a strike. No one wins in a strike. We want to avoid hostile negotiations because it will be very costly both for workers and employers if we were to down tools,” the union stated.

“Workers lose wages during a strike and employers will definitely lose business and the greater community will suffer.”

“We do not want a prolonged process,” said Hlubi. The union wants employers to take the process “seriously”, which is why the 9 February deadline was proposed.

Klaus Heimes, president of Sabea told Fin24 that this was still the early stages of the negotiation process. He added that there has been no communication from labour regarding the 9 February deadline. The second round of negotiations would commence on 6 February.

Meshack Ramela, CEO of Cobeo told Fin24 that the employers had made offers on a number of issues and the union had not responded to those yet.

He confirmed that 4% was the opening position. He added that lower end workers earned R6000 per month and a multiyear arrangement is being proposed with a 5% increase in the first year followed by inflation related increases in the following two years.

“Everyone would want to reach an agreement as soon as possible. Negotiations only started on 27 January,” he said, responding to a question on the likelihood that an agreement would be reached by 9 February.

“It is premature for a strike,” he added.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

transport  |  labour  |  wage agreement  |  numsa  |  bus
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