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Unity in bid to save jobs

In a rare display of public unity, union bosses, industry leaders and manufacturing companies have come together to try to save more than 200,000 jobs at risk in the steel sector.
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The move comes as South Africa is negatively affected by cheaper Chinese imports and labour unrest continues to rattle the industry.

Decimation of jobs comes in two waves

Solidarity spokesman Marius Croucamp warned that the decimation of jobs would come in two waves. The first would be in the primary production sector where major companies operating in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape would be hit. The next would affect the secondary sector, including manufacturing and construction companies that formed part of the value chain in the steel industry.

Croucamp said the second wave would hit Nelson Mandela Bay hard as the city is home to a number of manufacturing companies and construction businesses.

"These waves will affect the entire manufacturing industry and cities with a strong manufacturing base, such as Nelson Mandela Bay, will be devastated if something is not done to protect jobs in steel and the manufacturing industries. The city will feel the ripple effects," he said.

Task team to save jobs

On Tuesday, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, Solidarity, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa), industry chief executives and the United Association of SA met in Johannesburg where it was agreed that a task team would be set up to look at ways of averting job cuts.

The task team will be made up of labour and industry representatives. They will develop a detailed submission and concrete proposals to be tabled with the government.

"A number of meetings are being planned with all industry players, particularly the government," the parties said in a joint statement. "The meeting firmly believed that through collective efforts and the government's involvement, a solution must be found to save this industry from collapsing."

Henk Langenhoven, a chief economist at Seifsa, said there might be ripple effects, with fears that manufacturers of automotive components could be hit hard. "It is very difficult to understand what the specific impacts will be, but the metals and engineering, construction, mining and automotive sectors will be hit," he said.

Source: Herald


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