Mkhululi Ndamase and Cindy Preller
DESPITE conflicting reports yesterday that the fuel retailers' strike, which is expected to start on Monday, had been called off, Numsa insists it is all systems go.
About 72000 union members are due to stay away at petrol stations, component manufacturers, automotive retail outlets, panel-beaters, car and spare parts stores, workshops, truck body and trailer builders and dealerships.
The Fuel Retail Association (FRA) and the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), which were in negotiations with Numsa for most of yesterday, claimed the strike was off.
FRA chief executive Reggie Sibiya said Numsa on Tuesday had prematurely released a statement on the strike in the fuel retail industry but had since retracted their statement.
"We are still negotiating with them and therefore we are not preparing for a strike. Mediation is still ongoing and Numsa had indicated that they will be extending the process of engagement further," Sibiya said.
RMI chief executive Jakkie Olivier said he had notified the members of his organisation that mediation with Numsa would continue next week and that there would be no strike in their industry.
However, Numsa national spokesman Castro Ngobese said there was no talk of Monday's strike being called off. "From where we are seated the strike is still on. It is not them [employers] who called the strike. Workers called the strike because our agreement with employers expired on Saturday and they have failed to meet our demands."
Ngobese said they would meet employers tomorrow but unless an agreement was reached, their members would down tools on Monday.
Meanwhile, Numsa national treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo said the motor industry strike was still on, despite expectations that a decision would be announced yesterday on whether the union accepted the industry's latest offer.
"We will consolidate other provinces but the strike is still on. The strike will continue until our members give us a mandate, but at some point the union will have to take a decision," he said.
Automobile Manufacturers' Employers Organisation (Ameo) chairman Thapelo Molapo said the country's car manufacturers were still waiting for feedback from Numsa.
"As far as we understand, they are still talking to members about our offer. I know they are speaking to companies in Nelson Mandela Bay today [yesterday] and they need to cover all the plants to consult with all the members," he said.
Striking workers in the airline industry belonging to the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) were blamed for a second day of violence in Motherwell.
Police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said several vehicles were stoned on the Addo road at about 9am yesterday.
It was found that the protesters only had permission to protest at their place of work.
"They were therefore dispersed and we are monitoring the situation," Beetge said.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) strike in the construction industry continues.