The National Union of Metal Workers South Africa (Numsa) will be picketing outside Macsteel’s various offices on Monday morning, demanding that retrenched employees be reinstated.

The union toldEyewitness News nearly 100 staff members were retrenched last year, which the union said was unacceptable in the time of a pandemic.

Numsa is demanding they be reinstated under the same conditions that applied before they were laid off.

Spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said it was inhumane to retrench people during a pandemic.

“We are convinced that Macsteel is using the pandemic to boost their profit margins. They’ve previously retrenched workers, and the savings they made from job cuts were used to pay managers and executives generous bonuses and packages. [Protesters] are [picketing] in the defence of jobs and the right to work.”