South African metal workers 'to escalate' strike

South African metal workers 'to escalate' strike

The work stoppage began only a week after the end of a five-month strike in the platinum sector.

South Africa's engineering and metalworkers rejected Sunday a 10% pay offer from employers, calling on its 220,000 striking members in the sector to intensify a two-week-long strike action.

Irvin Jim, the general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers in South Africa (NUMSA), said its members rejected the latest offer because it didn't include a double-digit wage increase for all three years, Wall Street Journal reported.

In a media briefing Sunday, Jim added the country's biggest trade union members would continue with indefinite strike action.

"Should the employers continue with their reckless shenanigans and unreasonable demands, we might be left with no option but to call for targeted solidarity in all our sectors. This is seriously under consideration," the NUM leader said.

The work stoppage, which began only a week after the end of a strike in the platinum sector, is affecting about 12,000 employers including Nampak, Africa’s biggest can manufacturer, and carmakers such as General Motors Co. (NYSE:GE), BMW AG (FRA:BMW) and Evraz Highveld Steel (JSE:EHS).

It has also damaged wider investor sentiment in the country's economy, which is teetering on the brink of recession after a five-month strike in the platinum mining industry.

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (SAIFSA) estimates that it is costing the South African economy about $30 million a day.

The strike has also affected thousands of other companies across the manufacturing sector.

Image courtesy of NUMSA.