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SolidarityMaroela Media reports that Solidarity issued a press statement on Wednesday indicating that the wage offer for skilled artisans made earlier by employers in the steel and engineering sector left the trade union with no choice but to reject it.

The parties met earlier under the auspices of the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) for the last round of wage negotiations. Gideon du Plessis, Solidarity’s general secretary, explained that the final wage offer made by the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) on behalf of several employer organisations was structured in such a way that the increases were calculated on the minimum wage scales per job category. “The end result is that skilled artisans who are at the higher wage scales are hugely disadvantaged,” Du Plessis explained. He noted that the increases in the previous three-year agreement were calculated on the minimum wage rates as a compromise after Covid-19, which was understandable given the circumstances at the time. However, “the continuation of this discriminatory practice for a further three-year period means that artisans will receive increases of way below inflation for six consecutive years.” Solidarity’s final demand of a minimum increase of 5% on actual wages was apparently rejected by the employers. Solidarity therefore requested its negotiators not to sign the ‘artisan-unfriendly’ agreement, even if the other trade unions decided to accept the employers’ offer. Solidarity appealed to employers to calculate the increase on artisans’ actual wage rates, as had been the case before 2021, but added that it would probably have to follow the prescribed dispute route.

  • Read the full original of the report in Afrikaans in the above regard at Maroela Media

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