“We have not promised NUMSA to get back to it with a new offer. Instead, we made it clear that we have exhausted our mandate. We also explained, during our meeting with the NUMSA leadership yesterday morning, that 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to end the strike and to see employees back at work this week – failed to accomplish its goal and has since been withdrawn,” Mr Nyatsumba said.

The conditional final offer, which was rejected publicly by NUMSA on Sunday, was 10% in 2014, 9,5% in 2015 and 9% in 2016. It was made on condition that it would lead to a quick settlement that would see the current damaging industrial action, which has been accompanied by violence in some parts of the country, ended.

Mr Nyatsumba said that SEIFSA has reverted to its previous offer of 10% in 2014 and 9% in 2015 and 2016 respectively, and that no follow-up meetings were scheduled with NUMSA.

For higher-earning artisans on level A, the offer remains 8% in 2014, 7,5% in 2015 and 7% in 2016.
Mr Nyatsumba said that it was not true, therefore, that NUMSA was waiting for SEIFSA to get back to it with a new offer or on any matter.

“The current situation that we find ourselves in is very unfortunate and deeply regrettable. We are deeply concerned about the enormous damage wreaked on the economy by the strike, hence our determination last week to bring it to a speedy end. It is regrettable that our final offer intended to end the strike was not accepted, with the current industrial action continuing to damage our economy,” Mr Nyatsumba said.

He also dismissed as untrue a report in Business Report today that SEIFSA “had said that it would return for a mandate” on plant-level negotiations and labour broking. He said that SEIFSA would have explained this to the reporter if he had bothered to check with the Federation.

“We have made a number of important concessions in these negotiations, but our positions on both matters have never once changed. We have indicated all along that we would not be able to sign any agreement that did not protect employers from the threat of double dipping, with matters which impact on the total cost of employment negotiated both at national level through collective bargaining and subsequently at plant level. It remains critically important for us that we reach a mutually-acceptable agreement on Section 37 of the Main Agreement.

“Secondly, we have indicated throughout the negotiations that labour brokers were a matter for labour to raise with the Government, and not with employers,” Mr Nyatsumba said.