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Workers in South Africa’s plastic sector go on strike

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NUMSA distances itself from plastic sector strike violence

NUMSA says Plastic employers have set a terrible precedent by unilaterally varying down the benefits, conditions and wages of our members in the industry.

More than 10,000 employees in the plastic sector are downing tools on Monday, 15 October 2018, led by the The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA).

The union claims that the plastic sector is constituted by a conservative, notorious group of employers who are oppressing workers.

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“It is this group of employers who unilaterally varied down workers’ wages and benefits, and worsened their working conditions. They are doing all they can to justify their continued abuse and exploitation of workers. These are the same employers who wanted to collapse the MEIBC council by refusing to pay levies, which they still owe!”, National Spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said in a statement.

The union claims that leave entitlement of four weeks has been scaled down – the fourth week has been taken away for workers who’ve served less than four years, they have increased hours of work from 40 to 45 per week and they don’t pay overtime, Grade H minimum wage has been reduced from R40 to R20 and leave enhancement pay (bonus) has been taken away.

NUMSA is demanding, among other things, wages and other employment terms to be regulated by the council’s Main Agreement, the MEIBC and a 15 percent wage increase across the board.

The nationwide strike will affect at least 450 companies in the sector. The union says any industry that depends on plastic, whether it’s the cell phone, IT, or automotive sector, will be affected.

“This is an indefinite strike and it will continue until such time that employers meet our demands.”

Thabo Baloyi
t.baloyi@politicalanalysis.co.za

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