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A strike in the metal and engineering sector would harm the weakened economy and further delay the construction of the Medupi, Kusile and Ingqurha power stations, analysts said on Tuesday. The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said on Tuesday it was mobilising its members to down tools after failure to reach a wage deal with the employers. Although the union would have to wait until Friday, when the management committee of the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council convenes to issue a strike notice, it had already requested a certificate of nonresolution to the wage dispute. Numsa is demanding a 15% wage increase, while other unions are asking for 10%-12% and employers are offering a 5.5% wage rise. Labour analyst Andrew Levy said a strike seemed unavoidable at this stage and warned it would negatively affect an economy already in a technical recession, lead to job losses and company closures, and hit investor confidence hard.

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