Economy can go to hell, says Numsa official

[caption id="attachment_39049" align="alignright" width="405"] FRESHENING UP: Numsa members take a break – with two of them enjoying cans of cider – on the sidelines of the rally at the Port Elizabeth City Hall after a march from New Brighton. Picture: FREDLIN ADRIAAN[/caption]

TO hell with economists who claim that this week's Numsa strike will kill the economy, the union's national treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo said as he led thousands of members through the Port Elizabeth city centre yesterday.

Numsa-affiliated engineering and metal industry workers marched in several centres demanding a 12% wage increase after an 11th-hour intervention by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant on Monday night to stop the strike failed.

Employers are offering 7%.

Business leaders and economists fear if Numsa's strike continues, it will bring an already-fragile economy to its knees – with the motor industry in the Eastern Cape likely to be hardest hit.

But, speaking to about 2500 members in front of the Port Elizabeth City Hall, Maqungo urged them not to be apologetic about their demand for better pay.

"There have been gurus and economic analysts arguing that this strike is politically motivated and will hit the economy hardest.

"We want to tell them that they must go to hell," Maqung said. - Mkhululi Ndamase and Cindy Preller

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