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19 December 2014

The National Employers’ Association of South Africa finds the way in which Numsa is portraying certain facts about the Metal and Engineering Industry in the media as scandalous.

Numsa General Secretary, Irvin Jim, creates the impression that there is disparity between the wages of black and white workers whilst that is not the case. His insinuation in this regard is blatantly untruthful.

Mr Jim says that ‘black’ workers in the Metal Industry are earning between R3000 and R4000 a month; the truth is that the ‘cost to company’ of employing an unskilled and inexperienced worker in this Industry ranges between R8000 and R9000 (per month).

The Numsa/Seifsa approach is therefore that unless an employer can produce a product that justifies paying a worker at least R100 000 per annum (cost to company), for a 40 hour week, escalating at a compounded rate of 10% per year, then rather give that product to China to manufacture.

The Numsa/Seifsa approach also does not differentiate between an employer who is a primary steel producer in an economic hub in South Africa or a small downstream manufacturer in a rural area.

Mr Jim also fails to mention that, according to Numsa itself, the manufacturing sector has lost 250 000 jobs over the last five years. This can be largely contributed to the repeated employer and Industry hostile agreements Numsa has entered into with the employer federation Seifsa. The Numsa/ Seifsa alliance has more than anything else lead to the decline of the Metal Industry.

‘Perhaps Mr Jim does not even realise it, but he and his Union have become prime collaborators of big business with no regard to the survival of small business and the people they employ’, says Gerhard Papenfus, NEASA Chief Executive.

Using the race card is morally bankrupt in this scenario. Whilst NEASA is fighting against the ravages of monopoly capitalism, Numsa accuses NEASA and the employers it represents (SMME’s) of raw racism.

‘We reject this accusation with the contempt it deserves,’ says Papenfus.

For more information:

Sya van der Walt-Potgieter
Media Liason