Yesterday more than ten-thousand members of metalworkers’ union Numsa in the plastics sector embarked on an indefinite national strike. Workers participating in the nationwide strike are demanding a 15-per cent salary increase.
More than ten thousand members of metalworkers’ union Numsa have downed tools on Monday over salary increases and benefits in the plastic sector.
Numsa’s demands include a 15% wage increase and for companies to pay them R40 an hour again instead of the recent decision to cut salaries back to R20 an hour.
Numsa’s spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said workers had until 2016, enjoyed the same rights and benefits as those in engineering, but the introduction of a national minimum wage by government had given employers “the courage to undermine these hard-won benefits”.
“Employers now want to reduce and, in some cases, remove these progressive benefits,” she said.
“Our demand is simple. We are fighting for workers in the plastics sector to retain the wages and benefits which they fought so hard for.”
Hlubi-Majola said Numsa realises that a strike will have a negative impact on an already struggling economy, but workers have no other option as they are simply fighting for a living wage.
General secretary Irvin Jim said that plastic companies are undermining basic workers’ rights.
“We understand that the state of the economy is faced with serious challenges, but these workers live in the same economy, they eat the same food we eat, they take the same transport we jump into…”
Numsa believes the strike has the potential to bring the sector to a standstill as over 450 companies will be affected.
A memorandum of demands will be handed over on Tuesday.