Industry remains positive as Numsa members down tools - CNBC Africa

Industry remains positive as Numsa members down tools

Southern Africa

by Trust Matsilele 0

South Africa’s largest metalworkers union's members, Numsa has downed tools from today demanding a 12 per cent pay increase.

The 220,000 strong member, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) strike poses serious threats to the already fragile economy reeling from the five month platinum strikes.

(READ MORE: Numsa's Eskom members set to down tools)

Bell Equipment, a company focusing on the manufacturing, distribution and support of materials handling equipment has warned against strikes of the magnitude experienced by the platinum sector.

“The strike is definitely going ahead, we are prepared for it and we have been working with the industry to ensure that the guidelines are in place,” the chief executive officer of Bell Equipment, Gary Bell told CNBC Africa.

“We would like to see the disputes resolved sooner rather than later as we are going into a period where general economic activities are not high.”

Bell added that though his company had a lot more finished goods inventory in the shelves, he warned that it would be difficult dealing with an indefinite situation.

“I am hopeful that the issues will be resolved within a reasonable timeframe and not having to deal with the five or six month period that the platinum sector had to deal with,” said Bell.

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He urged the union to make demands that are more close to reality.

“The demands need to be a little closer to reality, there is a huge number of people that are unemployed in the country and we are also a leading country in youth unemployment in the world,” added Bell.

He also noted that the Numsa strike was presenting an opportunity to 20 or 30 imported competitors.

(READ MORE: South Africa engineering strike latest blow to sickly economy)

“As a country we need to play good to win. If we play bad it will be easy for them [imported competitors] to get in and pick up the businesses,” he added.

Kaizer Nyatsumba, the chief executive of Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA) told CNBC Africa that the country needed to convene an all stakeholder meetings to resolve the country’s perennial strikes.

“Our country desperately requires a business type CODESA involving business, government and labour,” noted Nyatsumba.

“It is important that the three parties get together and talk about what collectively needs to be done to ensure that our economy is enabled to compete effectively with other economies around the world.”

(WATCH VIDEO: South Africa's national union of metal workers go on strike)

Nyatsumba added that the economy was currently bleeding.

“We had a GDP of 1.9 per cent in 2013 and it contracted by 0.6 per cent in the first three months of this year,” he said.

The SEIFSA will be meeting the Numsa leadership on Thursday with the hope to make some movement which might requires mutual compromises.

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