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The National Employer’s Association of South Africa (NEASA) is extremely disappointed by comments from the National Union of Mine Workers (NUMSA) that 220 000 of its members will down tools on July 1. During a press conference in Johannesburg today, NUMSA said the decision to engage in industrial action was not an easy one as the economy’s already taken a knock due to the five month long strike in the mining industry.

‘NUMSA’s announcement that the decision to go on strike was not an easy one is not credible. More than a month ago NUMSA announced that they would go on strike, ‘ says Neasa Chief Executive, Gerhard Papenfus.

Employers and unions have over the last few weeks engaged in intense talks after negotiations deadlocked in May. Unions are demanding a 12% wage hike while employers are offering between 7% and 8%.

‘NUMSA has jumped the gun by walking away from the negotiations without entertaining any of the issues that NEASA deems of national importance such as job creation and the establishment of more flexible measures that will help with the creation of jobs for millions of people,’ says Papenfus.

The strike will have a massive impact on the industry as NUMSA represents almost half those employed. This industry has already been affected by the recent strike in the platinum sector.

‘The decision by NUMSA clearly shows that they are not serious about growing the economy, job creation, creating an environment that will at least attempt to accommodate millions of unemployed and that they clearly do not understand the crucial role that small and medium enterprises play in growing the economy. They clearly do not understand that this strike will not only lead to the loss of production and the income stability of NUMSA workers, but also affect South Africa’s image as a reliant investment destination,’ Papenfus said.

NEASA is calling upon NUMSA and all other unions to exercise their right to strike within the confines of the law and not to engage in acts of violence and intimidation against businesses who will attempt to continue production and against those workers who opt not to engage in the strike.  This week NEASA engaged its members in the metal industry during a nationwide roadshow to get a renewed mandate for continued negotiations and preparations in the event of a strike.

For more information:

Sya van der Walt-Potgieter
Media Liaison
082 332 9512