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The South African Trade Union Congress (Cosatu) performed to a muted gallery yesterday in its show of force to pressure the government for tax policy changes, investments in state-owned enterprises, private sector capital increase , stronger collective bargaining and decisive action against corruption.
This as already entangled parties, the National Metalworkers Union of South Africa (Numsa) and employers’ organizations in the metalworking and engineering sectors, said they were speaking more with a mutual sentiment to resolve an issue. strike which began on Tuesday this week.
Cosatu had cautiously asked some members to stay at home out of respect for Covid-19 protocols and thus saw low participation in its organized marches in major cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, Mahikeng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Cosatu President Zingisa Losi called for an end to austerity measures in state-owned enterprises and more job creation if the economic recovery is to benefit workers.
The protests, while vibrant, belied the strength and size of South Africa’s largest organized labor movement.
In another development, Seifsa chief executive Lucio Trentini told Business Report that there had been a lot of engagements with Numsa since the strike began and, although there had been no engagement closed offers from either party, it was good that they talk more.
He said employers were concerned about the growing number of reports of violent protesters, damage to employers’ property and intimidation of workers choosing to honor their calls for service.
Trentini said employers had moved from the position that prompted the strike, but he could not release details as they were still at the negotiating table.
“Progress has been made. We are not there yet as we are encouraged that we and Numsa are showing some compromise. If we don’t all come to terms, the strike will last longer. It is promising that over the next few days maybe we can all get back to what we need to do, which is important for the economy, employers and workers, ”he said.
Numsa spokesman Phakamile Hlubi-Majola confirmed that the parties were increasingly seated around the table and that the language on both sides was compromise.
“We think and hope that we will come closer to find each other. We are trying to come to a settlement, ”she said.
Workers demand an 8 percent pay rise in all areas with more than 2 percent consumer price index (CPI) benefits, while the employer has proposed a 4 percent increase. 4 percent with CPI increases phased over the three-year bargaining period.
ONLINE ACTIVITY REPORT