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JOHANNESBURG, July 13 (Reuters) - South Africa's metalworkers' union NUMSA rejected the latest pay offer from engineering and steel sector employers on Sunday, saying black workers were still underpaid, and threatened to widen its two-week old strike.
Industrial action by 220,000 NUMSA members, which followed on the heels of a crippling five-month strike in the platinum sector, has already forced General Motors to close its assembly plant in the southern city of Port Elizabeth.
Other companies affected are construction companies Murray & Roberts and Aveng Ltd, which are working on the construction of two major power plants for state power utility Eskom.
NUMSA is demanding a 12-15 percent annual wage increase for its members and on Sunday rejected employers' latest offer of a 10 percent increase this year, 9.5 percent in 2015 and 9.0 percent the year after that.
Irvin Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, said NUMSA would not accept anything less than a 10 percent annual rise over three years at the very least.
"While we are fully aware of the state of the industry in the metals and engineering sectors we are also very acutely aware of the miserable conditions of life of the majority of the black and African working class who ... survive on extremely low, colonial and very inferior racist-inspired wages," Jim told reporters.
"We are making a very clear statement that the strike continues and we call on our members to intensify the strike."
That could mean calling 100,000 NUMSA members in other industries to join the strike as well.