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On Wednesday morning, 11 May 2022, a group of National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) protestors gathered outside various ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) branches. The union’s demands include a 10% increase across the board, housing allowance, the scrapping of Labour Brokers, insourcing of temporary employees and an 80% medical aid contribution from AMSA.
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According to NUMSA, they have rejected an offer of a 5% increase from AMSA management, claiming that the steel giant made over R37 million in profit in 2020.
Furthermore, NUMSA claims it now calls on the AMSA management to come back to the negotiating table.
“This is an indefinite national strike, taking place at AMSA plants all over the country, including Pretoria, KwaZulu-Natal and Vanderbijlpark,” said NUMSA National Spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola.
With workers picketing at the workplace, Hlubi-Majola emphasised that employees will not work until the negotiations resume.
Facing an already fragile economy, the question now stands, what type of impact will the strike have on the large steel company?
Addressing the matter, AMSA’s Group Manager: Stakeholder Management & Communications, Tami Didiza explained that as the protests have just begun, it was too soon to predict the impact of the strike action.
However, Didiza emphasised, “The company has mitigation measures in place to limit the impact of the strike and remains open to constructive dialogue in the interest of resolving the matter, should NUMSA want to reopen engagements.”
Ensuring the strike action did not continue indefinitely, at approximately 3 pm, the Labour Court granted an interim interdict.
The Interdict states that ArcelorMittal South Africa employees working at the blast furnaces, coke batteries and steel making in Vanderbijlpark and Newcastle are not permitted to embark on, or continue with a strike, pending the labour court granting judgement.
“Should these employees continue with the strike, it will be considered unlawful,” concluded Didiza.
With the strike action now deemed unlawful —what are your thoughts?
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