JOHANNESBURG, July 22- The employer body of the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (Seifsa) has met to mull over a facilitated settlement proposal from the labour unions to end the strike by metal and engineering workers in the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa).
However, the proposal has already been rejected by another employer group, The National Employer’s Association of South Africa (Neasa).
Parties in the metal and engineering sector are on tenterhooks, and are keeping their fingers crossed that a wage settlement can be reached by Tuesday. The strike by Numsa has entered its fourth week although the union appears keen to see the strike ending.
Seifsa is expected to give its official response on the proposed settlement Tuesday at a meeting of the Bargaining Council.
The new proposal includes a 10 per cent pay increase for lower job grades and an 8.0 per cent increase for skilled workers over the next three years.
Neasa, which represents mostly small companies, says the current proposed settlement is worse for the industry than all the other previous proposals. It says it will fight the deal if Seifsa agrees to it, and this includes going to court.
Neasa has offered an 8.0 per cent wage hike and also wants an agreement on a lower entry-level wage to create employment. It is also proposing a separate wage dispensation for smaller companies, a move certain to be rejected by Numsa.