South African employer body, NEASA, says there have been “confrontations” as its requested lock-out by members continues following the ending of the country’s damaging metalworking strike.

The National Employers Association of South Africa adds it will have a clearer picture tomorrow (1 August), of how many its 3,000 members are complying with a request to lock out employees formerly on strike in the dispute, which saw many car plants idled.

NEASA took its stance following this week’s agreement between the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA), which saw a pay settlement agreed of 10% wage rises each year until 2016.

NEASA insists its members cannot afford such a sum and have offered 8%, with the delicate issue now on the desk of South African Labour Minister, Mildred Oliphant, to decide.

“We have asked our members to engage in a lock-out of workers that were engaged in the strike and we have asked for feedback,” a NEASA spokeswoman told just-auto from Pretoria.

“We will get a clearer picture towards the end of the week. About half of our members participated in the lock-out – the majority in the Gauteng area which is the main economic hub around Johannesburg and Pretoria.

“It does not seem to be violent, but there [have] been some confrontations.”

South African Metal and Engineering Industry Bargaining Council (MEIBC), general secretary, Thulani Mthiyane, told just-auto from Johannesburg a number of workers had been locked out, but was unable to quantify exact numbers.

“We are just getting information, piece by piece,” he said. “In terms of our records, they (NEASA) have about 2,300 members. Whether all of them have locked out all employees, I don’t know yet.”

The MEIBC will now convene a special management committee meeting to discuss the settlement figure before putting its resolution to the Labour Minister, who will then decide to action it or not.

“There is still a lot to do as a Bargaining Council to make sure this arrangement will become binding to the entire industry,” said Mthiyane.

NEASA has indicated it will go the the Labour Court if Oliphant agrees the deal as it stands.