The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) geared up for the national mega strike in the plastic sector, which started on 15 October. The union said the strike would paralyse all sectors across the economy. It has dubbed this a plastic shutdown.
The union says employers in the industry have continued to undermine its workers. Numsa representatives said their members’ working conditions and wages remain dismal while working hours have been increased.
It wants the R20 an hour wage increased to R40. It also wants bonuses for the employees reinstated.
At least 10 000 Numsa members were expected to down tools in the plastic industry. The strike is expected to affect 450 companies in the plastic manufacturing, plastic moulding and plastic packaging industries.
According to the Department of Trade and Industry the plastic industry employs about 60 000 people. This represents all sectors of the South African Plastics Industry including polymer producers and importers, converters, machine suppliers, fabricators and recyclers.
The South African plastics industry has condemned the latest strike action by Numsa. The industry, through the Plastics Convertors Association of SA (PCASA), the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA) and four other employer’s organisations condemn this strike as Industrial Relations Fraud.
‘This week’s strikes and picketing are therefore completely illegal and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms,’ said Johan Pieterse, CEO of PCASA.
Numsa issued a press statement regarding the upcoming strike in the Plastics Industry on 11 October. The document outlined various contentious matters between the union and employer bodies in the plastics Industry.
The union alleges employer bodies in the plastics industry have deliberately misled its members by, inter alia, intimidation and misconstruing facts.