Metals union demands safety measures

Numsa secretary general, Irvin Jim.
Numsa secretary general, Irvin Jim.

The metals union demands safety measures at Arcelor Mittal in Vanderbijl Park, and that three health and safety managers be suspended.

The National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) said that recent incidents include a worker losing three fingers at the steel plant, and in another incident a worker fell from a roof and was fatally injured.

Numsa also demanded that the Department of Labour (DOL) appoint qualified inspectors to carry out a thorough investigation into health and safety compliance and ‘standards’ in the company.

The metal union alleged that the employer was more concerned with maintaining and increasing production.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said they were also angry at the number of times management had victimised and charged shop stewards who raised complaints from workers.

“On 2 December the dispute was taken for conciliation at the Metal and Engineering Bargaining Council. The Commissioner tried to conciliate, [but] the employer arrogantly looked for excuses,” Jim said.

Incident investigation delay

The alleged excuses caused the union to miss the 30-day deadline for conciliation, in terms of Section 135 of the Labour Relations Act, “because the company had promised to investigate the accidents, but failed to do so in time for the union to meet the deadline.”

Jim said the union had asked to meet the Commission to discuss its demands, failing which Numsa would proceed to issue a notice for a strike.

Last year, Arcelor Mittal undertook an ‘industrial footprint review’ and rationalisation of Vanderbijl Park works, and a review of the local Corporate Service departments.

  • Source; African News Agency
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