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South Africa Metals Strike Continues as Union Decides on Offer

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa plans to announce today whether it accepts an the latest offer from employers and end a month-long wage strike in the metals and engineering industries.

“The strike continues,” Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim said by phone. The union will probably announce its decision at 4 p.m. local time, he said. The labor action by 220,000 workers is costing the engineering industry about 300 million rand ($28.5 million) a day, according to employers.

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa, the biggest group of employers that’s known as Seifsa, offered a 10 percent annual wage increase for the lowest-paid workers for three years. Numsa has rejected a clause in the proposal that would prohibit unions from debating employment issues with individual businesses.

“We are hoping that their internal discussion will allow us to conclude an agreement,” Seifsa Operations Director Lucio Trentini said by phone.

Central Bank Governor Gill Marcus warned last week about the effects of awarding of double-digit pay increases while inflation breached the bank’s target for a third month.

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