The Numsa Special National Executive Committee (NEC) was convened yesterday, Sunday 27 July 2014, to update the union’s structures on the progress made during negotiations in the Metals Engineering Industry Bargaining Council (MEIBC) this past week. The special NEC was attended by Numsa’s National Office Bearers (NOBs), worker-leaders from all our Regions, and members of the National Bargaining Team (NBT).
The Numsa NEC agreed to present to the Numsa striking workers the bottom-line settlement proposals in order for us to secure a mandate before an announcement is made. The NEC took this approach in accordance with Numsa’s established traditions as a worker-controlled, democratic and transparent trade union.
A number of meetings were held today, 28th July 2014 across the country to allow members, the owners of any settlement, to deliberate on the recommendations of the special NEC. We are pleased to inform the public and the country at large that the latest offer is a product of sweat and bitter struggles by our toiling workers for a Living Wage. Secondly it was a product of a four week long resolute battle to do away with the colonial apartheid wage dispensation in the EngineeringMetals sector.
We have since consolidated the views as expressed by our members in relation to the NEC recommendation. The settlement offer has been overwhelmingly and unanimously accepted by our members.
This is a massive victory given the pittance offer at the point of deadlock. For this we salute metalworkers.
The settlement package that our members have accepted is one which will go some way in addressing the challenges workers face on a daily basis in attempting to provide for their families in the face of the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality faced by the working class in our country today.
The main features of the settlement package are highlighted below in brief.
bull A 10% wage increase every year for our lowest paid members for the next three years.
bull A commitment that employees engaged by labour brokers shall continue to be entitled to all the terms and conditions of employment as contained in the Main Agreement. In order to enforce this, the MEIBC will employ labour broker compliance officers who will act on complaints of abuse and non-compliance from labour brokers.
bull Furthermore parties have committed to discourage and minimize the use of temporary employment services in the industry.
bull The administration of disciplinary action will be done by the secondary employer where the worker is employed rather than by the labour broker.
Improvements have also been secured in some of the following areas:
bull On short time – parties have agreed to set up an industry short-time fund which will be used to compensate workers when they are on short time
bull Time-off for shopstewards to attend to union and industry matters
bull Opportunities for training for our members
The union has also succeeded in negotiating a formulation of the S37 provision of the MEIBC Main Agreement which we are confident is legally sound and thus not disaantageous to Numsa in any manner, shape or form.
We urge all our members to report for work as from tomorrow – Tuesday 29 July 2014, and we call on the employers to allow workers who might not have received this message to report for duty by Thursday 31 July 2014.
The NEC was humbled by numerous messages of support and solidarity we had received during the strike, from our allies here at home and beyond our borders. The messages were a genuine expression of worker’s battle cry – ldquoan injury to one is an injury to allrdquo.
The NEC was emboldened by the worker-to-worker unity that was displayed during the strike, irrespective of one’s union logo’s or t-shirt colours. This unity needs to be cemented and strengthened in order to build workers unity to fight against neoliberalism and the capitalist onslaught.
The NEC also saluted the hundreds of thousands of our members that swamped the streets, from the beginning of the strike. Their militancy and resilience has reaffirmed Numsa as a fighting weapon and a shield for workers!
Lastly, we wish to take this opportunity to wish the Muslim community, particularly our members and their families, a peaceful Eid Mubarak.
Eid Mubarak is being celebrated all over the world, amidst the continued military aggression and killings by Apartheid Israel on the peace and freedom loving people of Palestine. We call on spiritual leaders and worshippers to use this Eid Mubarak as a global call for the isolation of the apartheid Israel state through economic sanctions and disinvestment.
We pledge our unconditional support and solidarity with the people of Palestine and we call for an end of the illegal occupation of Gaza by Israel.
We reiterate our calls for the immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in South Africa, Arthur Lenk, and the recall of Comrade Sisa Ngombane from Tel Aviv. Israel must be politically isolated in the same way that Apartheid South Africa was.
We also call on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to follow-up and investigate the Gaza Docket, and prosecute all South Africans conscripted to the IDF, and participating in Israel’s war-crimes against the Palestinians.
Source : Congress of South African Trade Unions