The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA) has turned down a proposal by the ministerial team of the Department of Labour to bring an end to the Metal Industry strike. The ministerial team met with all the parties involved in the negotiations on Saturday to try and broker a deal to end the strike, now in its fourth week.
‘The ministerial team of the Department of Labour has tabled a settlement proposal further out of reach of SMME’s. What is particularly disappointing is that the ministerial team proposed a settlement arrangement which may satisfy the trade unions but accelerate job losses in the Metal Industry,’ says NEASA Chief Executive, Gerhard Papenfus.
The on-going industrial action is costing the Industry and the economy dearly and NEASA is just as keen as everyone involved to see an end to the strike. However, a deal cannot be made just for the sake of bringing an end to the strike. The long term consequences also need to be considered.
‘Parties in the Industry stand before unenviable choices: we can do a deal which will bring an immediate end to the strike but will, over time, speed up the downward spiral the Industry already finds itself in, or we can continue to urgently search for a solution which will really serve employers and employees already in the Industry, as well as those outside of the Industry, entrepreneurs and the unemployed, who are searching for an opportunity in the Industry, and in doing so serve the interests of South Africa,’ Papenfus said.
A short-sighted settlement will end this strike but will lead to long-term hardship across the board and will eventually bring about socio-economic instability.
‘We urge the unions to look beyond the short-term interests of their members and to act in the long-term interests of the Industry, which will bring about more sustainable benefits for everybody,’ Papenfus said.
Parties are expected to meet again tonight to deliberate on the way forward.
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Sya van der Walt-Potgieter