Intimidation continues to mar metalworkers’ strike

There was no end in sight to the violent metalworkers strike on Wednesday, as unions said they have yet to meet with employers in the steel and engineering sector.

The mass action has been marred by incidents of intimidation, threats and violence.

Workers are demanding a 13 percent wage hike, a ban on labour brokers and other employee benefits, but employers are only offering seven percent.

Companies operating in industrial areas on Gauteng’s East Rand have been forced to either hide staff or send them home for fear of being targeted by striking workers.

A woman in Elandsfontein said protesters broke through the property’s main gate on Thursday.

“Everybody has been locked up behind doors. They have stormed our gate, they have knobkerries, they are intimidating not just union members, but they are intimidating anybody at this stage,” she said.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) maintained its members are disciplined and are not involved in the attacks.

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