The Labour Court in Johannesburg on Monday declared the lockout of National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) members by employers affiliated to the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (Neasa) legal.
Neasa had embarked on the lockout last month, stating that its demands had not been considered in the wage agreement signed by Numsa and the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa). Neasa also had not signed the settlement agreed to by unions and Seifsa.
“The driving force behind this lockout is that Numsa and the other unions must meet with us to resolve Neasa’s outstanding demands in order to get the lockout lifted. Until this has happened, the lockout will continue,” Neasa CE Gerhard Papenfus said in a statement on Monday.
Numsa had brought its application, which had been rejected with costs, to have the lockout declared illegal at the end of August.
Papenfus noted that the Labour Court judgment significantly enforced Neasa’s view that its members could not be bound by an agreement between Seifsa and Numsa.
“Whereas Seifsa’s employers must pay their agreed increased wages from July 1, 2014, this does not apply to Neasa’s members who are not presently obligated to pay any increases. Neasa will continue to resist all attempts to impose the unaffordable Seifsa deal on our members,” Papenfus stated.
Neasa added that it would continue with the lockout, despite attempts by Numsa and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) to intimidate employers.
Neasa said union members in the North West had, on several occasions, marched against companies participating in the lockout, and had also handed over a memorandum to individual companies, the Department of Labour and the Brits Industrialists Association demanding that all workers had to be allowed to go back to work unconditionally.
“These scare tactics will not have an effect on our decision to support the lockout against union members. Neasa maintains that the lockout is not compulsory for its members and will be enforced only by those employers who wish to execute the lockout,” Papenfus said.