The NUMSA (National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa) strike has continued on Wednesday, with scores of steel workers from around the country picketing for a wage increase.
NUMSA strike: Road closures for Wednesday 6 October 2021
The protest action has kept up with the momentum seen on Tuesday, on its second day. Multiple reports have come in, warning of unrest in most provinces, including Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and the Western Cape.
From what we understand, these following areas are considered no-go zones as heightened levels of unrest have been witnessed on Wednesday morning.
- Boksburg: Van Dyk Road
- Soweto: Delays in Reavaya bus services expected at Lakeview Station due to NUMSA strike
- Prospection, KZN: Joyner Road and Avenue East (could not verify if unrest is linked to NUMSA strike)
- Kruger National Park: Paul Kruger Gate and Belfast Village inaccessible due to protests.
- Richards Bay, KZN: Steel protesters reportedly chasing motorists at Alton Shell petrol station on Alumina Allee Street
- Brakpan: Motorists warned to avoid Labore
- Roodekop: Aberdien Street
- Alrode: Corner Potgieter St & Bosworth St
#NUMSA #Protesters gathering #JHB #GP:— RTC South Africa (@rtcsa1) October 6, 2021
..Hewit & Butler rd Springs
..Boniface rd Springs
..Nederveen Hvy Roodekop Germiston
..Voortrekker rd Brakpan
..Chris Hani rd Diepkloof Soweto#ituassist @rtcsa1
Steel industry faces collapse due to protest
Following the memorandum of demands handover that took place at the National Bargaining Council (NBC) in Johannesburg, leaders of the trade union made it abundantly clear that they would not settle for the steel industry’s counteroffer of a 4.4% wage increase.
““They adopted an opportunistic stance, refusing to make a meaningful offer that can resolve this round of negotiations. This is the reason that NUMSA resolved to serve all employer associations with a notice for an indefinite strike, which begins today, 5 October 2021,” the memorandum read.
NUMSA is dead-set on its calls for an across-the-board 8% wage increase, a proposition that employers from the steel and engineering sectors can’t afford at this juncture.
More than 400 000 workers have downed tools and as reported by Daily Maverick, this demonstration of defiance may cost the steel and engineering industries hundreds of millions of rand in losses per day, similarly to the 2014 strike.
Already, ArcelorMittal SA’s value in the stock market shrunk by R68 million following Tuesday’s unrest.
Lucio Trentini, CEO of the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA), warned that a prolonged strike could permanently cripple the steel and engineering industries which contribute 2% towards South Africa’s GDP.
Trentini stressed the importance of bringing NUMSA back to the negotiation table to find a resolve as soon as possible to avoid the events of 2014.
“The sooner we get back to the negotiating table, the better. We don’t want the strike to last four weeks, hence the urgency to get back to the negotiating table. The economy is not in the same place as in 2014. It is important for us to conclude a salary increase deal,” he said.
At the time this article was published, protest action was ongoing in Gauteng, KZN, Northern Cape and the Western Cape.