Today's Labour News

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seifsaBusinessLive writes that South Africans have reacted angrily to the imposition of blanket US import tariffs on steel and aluminium exports, which will become effective from 1 June 2018.  It is estimated at least 7,500 workers in these industries will lose their jobs.  

Major companies affected include diversified metals and mining group South32, premier steel maker ArcelorMittal SA and aluminium products fabricator Hulamin.  The US measures will also be negative for SA’s foreign exchange reserves.  "The proclamation by the US will [annually] directly cost South African exporters roughly R3bn worth of steel products and R474m worth of aluminium products," the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa’s (Seifsa’s) Michael Ade said.  He indicated the only apparent option available to SA exporters was to convince their customers in the US to lobby for exclusions for individual companies from SA on a case-by-case basis.  Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said SA was “disappointed that it was not granted an exemption from the duties", unlike far bigger producers and exporters of these metals.  The Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) wants the government to appeal the US decision as the tariffs will accelerate job losses in manufacturing and mining.  Meanwhile, trade union Solidarity indicated that SA offered to restrict exports of these metals to the US to 70% of the 2017 level, but this was turned down.

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