The crippling National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) strike in the steel and engineering sector has entered its third week with unions and businesses still at odds over how to implement the wage increase. NUMSA members downed tools indefinitely three weeks ago, demanding an eight percent increase across the board.

The Steel and Engineering Industries of Southern Africa (SEIFSA), which represents the majority of steel companies in the country, is offering six percent and insists that is their final offer. NUMSA says it’s prepared to accept the six percent offer but there is disagreement about how it should be implemented.

“This strike continuing because we have not yet reached an agreement with any employer, our members rejected the offer of 6 percent on the basis it’s based on minimum and not on the actual rate of pay. Our members want an increase in the actual rate of pay, that is the mandate that we were given. We don’t think we are far from each other with SEIFSA because we agree with SEIFSA. We simply disagree on how it’s been applied. This is something we believe employers can afford to compromise on, ” says NUMSA spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola.

VIDEO: Numsa tables revised wage demand of 8% to employers in the engineering sector