Updates: Debating auto and tyre merger

Merging the auto sector with the tyre sector has long been on Numsa's agenda. The agreements are almost the same, the wages are very close and their products are intertwined. One big difference is that tyre workers belong to a bargaining council while auto workers fall under the National Bargaining Forum. This is a 'gentleman's agreement' between all employers in the auto sector and representative trade unions. So while tyre workers pay 40c per week to the bargaining council, auto workers pay nothing. But if all workers belonged to one bargaining council, "workers would benefit," believes Herman Ntlatleng, Numsa's auto and tyre sector co-ordinator."We could push workers earning low wages up, combined benefit funds would improve their benefits and the roughly 8000 tyre members could be boosted by more than 20 000 auto workers," he says. While auto employers were originally positive about the idea, now they are changing their minds. "They believe the current arrangement suits them better," says Ntlatleng. "They would prefer a mega bargaining council with different chambers in it." For example there could be an engineering chamber, an auto chamber, a tyre chamber, a basic metals chamber and so on. What do auto and tyre workers want? Debate the issue with your fellow workers and shop stewards.


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