"NUMSA members are united and resolved that nothing will divide them or weaken their strike for a living wage and improved benefits, Ngobese said."
Johannesburg, July 17 - South Africa's biggest trade union Wednesday vowed to intensify a crippling strike in the metal and engineering sector after employers withdrew their wage offer.

The unprincipled and dishonest manner in which employers have been engaging has resulted in the strike being prolonged, Xinhua quoted the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) as saying.

The union laid the blame on the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) which withdrew its wage offer Tuesday.

SEIFSA should squarely shoulder the blame, NUMSA national spokesperson Castro Ngobese said in Johannesburg.

We refuse to be blackmailed by self-anointed spokespersons of the bosses, that our legitimate strike will plunge the economy and the country into a recession, he said.

SEIFSA chief executive officer Kaizer Nyatsumba said the final offer made last week -- which was intended to end the strike and to see employees back at work this week -- failed to accomplish its goal and has since been withdrawn.

The offer, which was rejected by NUMSA, was a 10 percent wage increase in 2014, 9.5 percent in 2015 and nine percent in 2016.

It was made on condition that it would lead to a quick settlement that would end the current damaging industrial action, which has been accompanied by violence in some parts of the country.

The move irritated NUMSA, which threatened to take further actions, including encouraging more workers to join the strike, mobilising protest marches in selected cities and towns, and holding solidarity lunch-time pickets and demonstrations in sectors linked or affected by the engineering and metals motor strike.

NUMSA members are united and resolved that nothing will divide them or weaken their strike for a living wage and improved benefits, Ngobese said.

More than 220,000 NUMSA members downed tools July 1 in a fresh round of labour unrest that is expected to deal a heavier blow to the country's economy still reeling under a five-month platinum strike that ended June 25.


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