Possible NUMSA strike discussed

André Schutte, Martin de Jager, Lt Col Meshack Nkele (Public Order Policing), Jennifer Watson, Col Doctor Mthimkulu from Vispol (back), Mike du Toit (Springs CPF chairman, back), Jeff Birkholtz, John Petterson and Ben van Greuning were some of the representatives of Springs companies at the meeting held at the Eastern Gauteng Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday.

The Eastern Gauteng Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted a meeting on Friday with several companies in Springs on the possibility of a National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa) strike.

This is due to the end of the three-year cycle in which Numsa’s terms are negotiated.

The last negotiations took place in 2014.

Mike du Toit, chairman of the Springs CPF, started off the meeting by talking about the advantages of instigating a WhatsApp group between all the affected businesses in Springs.

Referring to the 2014 negotiations and strike action, the company representatives all agreed that the WhatsApp group had a positive effect and led to instant communications between the affected parties.

Du Toit says Numsa might agree on eight per cent, but negotiations haven’t started yet.

“In the past, the strike actions usually started in the first week of July – after negotiations if no agreement could be reached.”

If there is to be a strike this year, the companies predict that it may occur on July 3.

“There is no certainty to this at all,” says du Toit.

The companies agreed they need to be well prepared and take preventative action.

Col Doctor Mthimkulu, Visible Policing Commander, says their resources are limited from the station’s side.

“The stress of manpower will affect our resources,” he says.

“If we have enough manpower, we can make arrests if needed.”

The companies discussed the need for a follow-up meeting closer to the time when they have more information regarding Numsa negotiations.

Gerhard Grové says he feels Springs was up to speed and one step ahead of the strikers in the past.

“If we can repeat that, we should be fine.”

The companies also claim the general consensus among their employees is they do not want to take part in strike action.

In 2014, Springs wasn’t exposed to the violent strike action which other towns experienced.

Company representatives complimented the police on their visibility in 2014, saying there was plenty of police presence.

Col Mthimkulu says there are two issues to prevent violent action.

“If the protests get violent, we need to act and we have the necessary equipment to intervene.

“We also have to identify the culprits and react accordingly.”

The company representatives also agreed communication with their staff is vital in this matter and they would like to communicate with their employees throughout the negotiation and possible strike period.

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Izahn Krige

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