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Engineering bosses accuse strikers of plotting violence

media A striking worker appeals to ex-president Nelson Mandela on a protest in … Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

The South African steel and engineering bosses’ organisation has advised businesses likely to be targeted by some of the more than 100,000 striking workers to report any violence or intimidation to the police.

Metalworkers’ union Numsa says reports of threats and destruction by workers around Johannesburg could be a ploy by employers to take the attention away from real issues.

With the strike by metalworkers entering its third day, businesses east of Johannesburg say they’ve had to send non-striking staff home because they were threatened by union members vowing to kill them.

The strikers are demanding a 13 per cent wage increase, a ban on labour brokers and other employee benefits.

The employers say this is unaffordable and are offering seven per cent

Businesses reported strikers breaking down fences and destroying cars and other property.

Union spokesperson Castro Ngobese says their members are disciplined and reports of violence might be a ploy by bosses to rubbish the mass action.

Meanwhile the Solidarity union says it’s dismayed by the chamber of mines' wage offer for gold sector workers of between four-and-a-half to five per cent.

The National Union of Mineworkers says its members extracting South African gold are preparing to strike after the chamber didn't change its wage offer.

The unions are demanding pay hikes of between 12 and 14 per cent.

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