UASA is one of five trade unions involved in the MEIBC strike. The unions this morning marched to hand over a memorandum of demands to the employers.
Currently the unions have come down with their demand to 13% while the employers have increased their offer to 7%. Part of the unions’ demands still on the table are:
- The banning of labour brokers
- The employers are looking at a three year deal while the unions at this juncture are prepared to look at a two year deal
- A tightening up of procedures whereby employers will be restricted from putting workers on short time unduly.
While the strike began in all earnest this morning, which could have a drastic effect on production in the industry, the parties are still in negotiations and yet another session is scheduled for this afternoon.
UASA remains hopeful to reach settlement soon, says Johan van Niekerk, UASA’s chief negotiator during wage talks. The fact that the employers gave 48 hour’s notice of their intention to lock the employees out, is complicating the process. This means that employers can lock the gates to all places of work with effect from Wednesday morning and only allow those employees back in who are prepared to accept the employers’ last offer on the table.
UASA is still standing firm with NUMSA and the other unions on the wage demands, trying to avoid a situation where ideological differences between the unions could break our power. In the end, the mandates received from grass roots members of the respective unions will determine to what extent we will be prepared to remain united,” says Van Niekerk.