Now that the seemingly endless dust has settled, we can all take a breath and assess the damage caused by the past few weeks of turmoil, The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) which had originally demanded an 8% rise eventually settled for a 5% increase for higher paid and a 6% increase for lower paid.
The strike has ended, which is fantastic news for business so heavily affected by this, however the sectors deep structural problems continue. The 8 days it took Numsa to finally agree cost metalworkers R100m in lost wages, taking their losses to about R300m during the three weeklong strike which cost the metals and engineering sector R600m
SA was once a big world player in the steel industry, but now the sector is showing signs of being in ongoing decline, the violence, and threats that businesses in the industry received around the now ended strike are pushing smaller businesses to the wall. The almost daily information we received from others in the same sinking boat as we were in, was disturbing to say the least, the damage to property and people injured during the strike was just something that is frankly impossible to understand or justify.
Our main priority at Steel Tube Services, is the safety of our staff so our immediate response was to close our factory to ensure they were off site if anything should happen at our premises, thankfully we have really incredible staff that are adaptable and understanding of any and all situations we throw their way, and, as expected, they made it work and managed to juggle all the balls that required juggling in order to keep our clients informed, updated and looked after.
As a result of the unforeseen closure, of course our manufacturing department as well as our deliveries also had to come to a grinding halt, which, added more anxiety to our situation, our industry as a whole was feeling the strain of this, as well as our clients waiting on their orders to be delivered, resulting in delays being felt all round but, true to our nature and character, we weathered the storm and managed to come out the other side, it is still an uphill battle for us along with everyone affected by this strike but we have a solid team and incredible customers, and, with a combination like that, we will come out on top once again.
The moral of the story is, check who is in your boat with you when you hit rough waters, make sure the team you have are all rowing in the same direction, at Steel Tube Services, we are proud to say we do.