Trade union Solidarity today expressed concern over the impending strike in the steel industry. The trade union also warned that a strike in the industry would not only have a huge negative impact on both the domestic steel industry and the country’s economy, but also on job opportunities in the industry.
This comes after the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) had earlier pledged its support to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) as far as NUMSA’s planned strike action in the industry was concerned.
According to Solidarity Deputy General Secretary for the Metal and Engineering Industry Marius Croucamp, the impending strike is a consequence of a lack of commitment from employers and trade unions alike to find a solution to the wage dispute. “Earlier, Solidarity expressed its willingness to enter into bilateral talks with employer organisations, but only a handful of organisations showed an inclination to negotiate further,” Croucamp explained.
Meanwhile, Solidarity has received a retrenchment notice from the Macsteel Group stating that the group intends to reduce its workforce by around 310 jobs.
According to Croucamp, the ongoing crisis in the wage negotiations could lead to even more retrenchments. “Urgent action is called for to ensure that as many jobs as possible are retained in the industry. We are afraid that a prolonged strike would have the opposite effect,” Croucamp said.