South Africa: Factories Expected to Close Shop As Numsa Strike Starts

East London — Many Eastern Cape National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa) downed tools on Monday, demanding a 13 percent wage increase.

Companies in East London, King Williamstown and Dimbaza that employ Numsa members were affected when their employees didn’t turn up for work. Their workers were attending a meeting at North End stadium in East London where they were addressed by Numsa leadership.

“We want a 13 percent wage increase and a two-year wage agreement. We also want labour brokers to be banished and family responsibility leave to be extended to include our workers’ in-laws,” said Patrick Sewu from Numsa’s East London branch.

Tommy Pennels, a worker at Ultra Pack in East London, said he was tired of empty promises from employers.

“We want our demands to be met and we will continue to strike until an agreement is reached,” said Pennels.

He said he and other Numsa members will go from factor to factory on Tuesday, ensuring workers down tools.

Ntomboxolo Wokona, who works at appliance manufacturer Defy, said she wanted sick leave to be increased.

“Also, we’re not happy that our bosses only want to see doctor’s sick certificates from certain doctors. They even go as far as visiting our homes to check whether we are really sick,” said Wokona.

Nimrod Msila, East London Numsa secretary, said the strike will continue until the employers put a favourable offer on the table.

“We hope that an agreement that is suitable to our members is reached and that working conditions improve for our members,” said Msila

Defy, Ultra Pack and First National Batteries are just some of the factories expected to be affected by the strike.

First National Battery HR manager Zamuxolo Meke said apart from a few workers not turning up for work, it was work as usual at the factory today.

“However, we anticipate a full strike tomorrow when workers down tools,” said Meke.
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