News Column

Manufacturing Down 3.7 Percent - Where Is Minister Davies?

July 10, 2014

Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, must urgently convene talks between the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), employers within South Africa's steel and engineering sectors and the Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant in order to end strike action in the manufacturing.

This comes after metals and vehicle manufacturing sectors, currently embroiled in NUMSA - led strike action, recorded the largest declines of 6.8% and 15,9% respectively in manufacturing production for May 2014 according to StatsSA.

Total manufacturing production fell by 3,7% in May 2014 compared with May 2013.

The prospect of prolonged strike action within the manufacturing sector would only serve to further depress production, threaten future job creation and prohibit economic growth.

Indeed, rating agency, Moody's, warned earlier this month that a new strike by Numsa in the steel and engineering sector would further weaken economic growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) may further downgrade South Africa's economic growth forecast later this month for the third time in under a year - with repeated strikes acting as a major contributor to the decline.

It is reported that major manufacturing companies in the automotive manufacturing industry have already scaled back production due to the weeklong strike.

Should a resolution not be met by the end of the week, more manufacturing plants will have to halt production - resulting in millions of Rands in lost revenue and threatening South African exports.

To date, interventions by the Minister of Labour, have failed to bring the strike to a decisive end.

Minister Davies must acquire the requisite fortitude and actively engage in talks that will bring parties to consensus and prevent the further deterioration of South Africa's manufacturing industry.

The time for action is now.

Dean Macphearson, Shadow Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry

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Source: AllAfrica

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