The last two issues of Solidarity reported on a major strike by metal and engineering workers in South Africa, members of the left-wing NUMSA union. The strike is now over. It looks like the union has given more ground than the bosses.
NUMSA’s demand was an 8% increase for all workers in the first year of a deal, then inflation plus 2% in the following two years. The employers offered 4.4%, then inflation plus 0.5% and inflation plus 1%. The settlement is 6% each year for the lowest paid, and 5-5.5% for better paid workers.
Inflation is currently running at about 5%. If it falls, the deal could mean gains. If it accelerates, it could be a disaster. In addition three smaller employers’ associations have not yet signed up to the deal.
It’s hard to tell, but NUMSA’s leadership seems to have been knocked by some smaller unions accepting the deal, as well as by victimisations and violence against strikers.