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Saftu ready for collective bargaining season battle

Publish date: 17 May 2017
Issue Number: 187
Diary: Legalbrief Workplace
Category: Labour

Labour analysts expect the newly formed South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) to make its mark when the 2017 collective bargaining season begins, reports Business Day. The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), the federation’s biggest union, is set to begin negotiations in the metals and engineering sector in June with an opening demand of a 15% wage increase. According to the report, the analysts said Saftu would use Numsa as a vehicle to position itself against rival federation Cosatu’s unions, while the challenging socioeconomic situation in the country would also push labour to approach bargaining with greater zeal. Labour analyst Andrew Levy said there was a high probability of a strike in the metals and engineering sector as a result. Dale McKinley, walso a labour analyst, said some political power play was inevitable as Saftu vied for members. The report quotes National Employers Association of SA’s Gerhard Papenfus as saying that, unfortunately for Numsa, the difficult economic situation could mean there was little appetite for a strike among workers. He warned that the 15% demand would not materialise and if Numsa kept pushing for a double-digit increase, it could come at the cost of jobs.

Full Business Day report