Strikes end


After a bruising four-week strike in the metals and engineering industries, employers and trade unions yesterday signed a historic three-year wage agreement ending the strike and opening the way for a return to work by thousands of striking workers across the country.

The nation-wide strike which commenced on 1 July, supported by five of the industry’s biggest trade-unions, lasted a record four weeks.

Bongiwe Kheswa, Communications Assistant of the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC), said in a statement the industry wide industrial action accompanied by employers retaliating with notices of lock-out action across the industry effectively brought the industry, and a number of important and related strategic industries to a virtual standstill, as employers and trade unions continued in their efforts to find a middle-ground.

"The bargaining council regrets the enormous impact on lost production and the potential impact the industrial action will still have on the industry.

"As employees return to work and employers begin to start-up production and make-up for lost time, the bargaining council pleads for restrain on both sides," says Kheswa.

According to the MEIBC now is not the time for retribution and the apportionment of blame. Industry is in dire need of leadership on all sides as relationships in the workplace must be rebuilt, trust restored and the interests of the industry and the country placed on centre stage.

"The metals and engineering industries as a catalyst for growth must urgently bed-down the agreement and focus on the important tasks that lie ahead.

"Employers and trade union leaders must restore confidence into the collective bargaining system and begin the important task of meeting the high expectation expected by employers, employees and all our stake-holders over the next three-years. The bargaining council urges all stakeholder to begin this important journey as quickly as possible," Kheswa concludes.


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