The latest revelations by the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (Neasa) follows last Wednesday threats from Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Western Cape to close down companies who are participating in the lock-out.
(READ MORE: Neasa rejects ministerial team's wage proposal)
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has also threated Neasa with a court action if the employers association does not suspend the lock-out.
“Numsa and the Cosatu Western Cape clearly stand for a one-sided form of democracy,” charged Neasa’s chief executive, Gerhard Papenfus.
“They are very quick to claim the benefits of their version of democracy and are very quick to point out any so-called undemocratic behaviour, but they are clearly not interested to illustrate democratic principles when the shoe is on the other foot.”
Papenfus also claimed the two unions utilise the tyranny of numbers when the situation does not suit them.
Gary Parker of Powerpump Engineering, a Neasa member, told CNBC Africa.com that the proposed 10 per cent increment would likely force companies to consider retrenching workers.
“I would have preferred to pay an eight per cent increment but now I have to make the 10 per cent proposed work,” lamented Parker.
“There is a possibility of retrenchment if the company is to remain profitable but I will do my utmost best [to not have to resort to reducing staff] though the company will inevitably become less profitable.”
Parker noted that the cost of raw materials had gone up adding that with such difficult working conditions it was imperative for companies to continue with operations.
“I have a service agreement with mining companies so I have to make sure that I fulfil my contractual obligations,” he said.
(READ MORE: Numsa ends metal strike)
With 15 years of operations, Powerpump Engineering employs about 48 workers with some facing the risk of losing employment due to the extra two per cent that parker says will likely make his operations less profitable.
If Powerpump Engineering’s sentiments are indicative of the sentiment across association members, then for about 70,000 workers employed under Neasa linked companies, life hangs in the balance as retrenchment could be imminent.