Can you take us through what were the plans for the motor sector this year?
The motor shop steward council met in February 2002 and adopted about 20 demands and agreed to call the campaign 'Operation Tlisa Diphetogo' which means transformation.
However after 6 rounds of negotiations and a 3-day mediation we managed to achieve the following:
The removal of the penalty clause the removal of area differentials over the next few years a higher increase for lower paid workers i.e. 18% for Area B forecourt attendants, 16% for Grade 1 in Area B 4 weeks leave after completing 8 years with the same employer.
What did you fail to achieve?
We failed to get an agency shop, increases on actual rates of pay and a shift allowance for forecourt attendants.
What has happened with some of the other older demands that we didn't achieve?
These demands are in sub-committees:
grading and job evaluation improvement on death benefits extension of agreement to cover former TBVC states. In fact this has long been agreed to, Numsa must provide membership statistics for these areas.
What is your assessment of bargaining this year?
The re-admission of the Fuel Retailers Association has added value to Mibco. Since their return we have achieved better increases for forecourt attendants.
However, because they are smaller than RMI and they represent petrol dealers only, they cannot influence the whole motor industry.
On the other hand we could not achieve the agency shop mainly because car dealers were opposed to it and they are the biggest sector of the RMI.
Numsa has the biggest membership in the car dealers but is not strong organisationally. The employers in this sector were confident that even if we were to embark on a strike, we would not have impacted on car dealers.
Even if the auto sector were to embark on solidarity, they were not going to be affected because there is always stock that they could sell.
Notwithstanding the fact that we have very few salespersons who are Numsa members, the same employers have again refused to grant increases on actual rates of pay, including personal guaranteed increases, but instead chose to give bigger increases on minimum rates.
What about the white trade unions that bargain with Numsa – Misa and Samu?
When we declared a dispute they also declared a dispute but when we embarked on a march, Misa folded their arms and watched whereas Samu's eight union officials participated in our march. Clearly they no longer have a role to play.
They insist that in the absence of an agency shop, there is no agreement in the industry. They want to continue holding the industry to ransom like they did in 1998 but they will not succeed against the mighty Numsa.
We believe that even if Numsa is not a majority union in the industry, we are the biggest union and therefore it is in the interests of the industry to extend the agreement to the whole motor industry in terms of Section 32 of the Labour Relations Act.
What were Numsa's weaknesses this year?
Negotiating committees were not consistent. Some regions changed their representatives in every round of negotiations which means that there was little or no contribution from them. Instead we had to spend half the time updating them.
Most delegates from regions were not sure what was happening in their own regions which was also a difficult thing to manage in that they didn't represent their regions but themselves.
We failed to mobilise workers in car dealers (cluster 6) and we failed to increase our membership in the sector.
The motor scorecard:
Removal of penalty clause
Removal of area differentials over the coming years
Higher increases for lower paid workers
Increases on actual rates of pay
Shift allowances for forecourt attendants
Consistent representation by regional reps at negotiations
Mobilisation of workers in car dealers (cluster 6)
What are you going to do about these problems?
With the resources at our disposal there is potential to improve the lives of our members.
A meeting of regional secretaries has agreed that the campaign should be as follows:
we must use the recruitment campaign to increase our membership especially in the motor sector so as to boost our representation in the sector.
Each local must target at least 5 car dealers and submit a demand for an agency shop and an increase on actual rates of pay. (Letters of demand should reach companies on/before 1 November 2002 . Referral letters/forms should reach Mibco on/before November 30, 2002 .
By the end of January, regions should report to Head Office about companies' responses.) The campaign for shop stewards to recruit at least one member per month must be strengthened.