South African media reported that the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa plans to hit the streets in all nine provinces on 5 October, after wage talks deadlocked with steel and engineering industry employers. Numsa General Secretary Mr Irvin Jim said “Employers have shown us a middle finger. We rejected the offer from Seifsa and regard it as an insult. They have acted as typical greedy capitalists. This is despite the fact that when we look into their balance sheets in different companies they have made profits. We will be embarking on a strike as a last resort as we have no choice but to push employers to give workers their wage increases and improve their working conditions. We will embark on a national march where we will hand over a memorandum of demands to all associations. Numsa structures in all nine provinces will hold marches when the strike commences and that all marches will observe Covid-19 lockdown protocols, including social distancing and limits to the number of demonstrators. Workers will be in the picket line in terms of this strike.”Numsa also said it wanted workers in the engineering and plastics industries to join the strike in solidarity. Numsa has more than 300,000 members, and if even a fraction of that sum joins the strike, it is likely to seriously hurt the metal industry.Employers in the sector have voted for a lockout, should the strike by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA go ahead. A lockout entails an employer refusing employees access to the workplace, effectively rendering it impossible for any workers to perform their duties and get paid.Numsa wants a salary increase of 8% for one year (2021) and an adjustment of consumer inflation plus 2% for the following two years. This works out to salary increases of just over 6%, as the SA Reserve Bank expects inflation to average 4.2% and 4.5% in 2022 and 2023 respectively. Numsa said that if the CPI+ equation falls below 6%, employers must offer 6% or reopen negotiations. The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA, with which metal unions have been negotiating, has offered a three-year agreement of a 4.4% increase for 2021, and inflation plus 0.5% for 2022, and CPI + 1% for the third year. The steel and engineering sector is key to SA’s economy, representing nearly 2% of the country’s economic output and around 190,000 direct jobs.