Auto & Tyre – Preparing for a new agreement

The auto and tyre three year agreements expire at the end of June this year. Numsa Bulletin spoke to auto and tyre sector co-ordinator, Herman Ntlatleng to find out what he expects of Numsa’s auto and tyre shop stewards .

What do you expect from auto shop stewards this year?

From February we will run workshops with auto shop stewards to familiarise them with their national agreement – the National Bargaining Forum agreement. Then we expect them to hold general meetings and discuss with members the demands for this year. Last year we did not go to our members to ask them about demands. But there was a National Bargaining Conference (NBC) that sat and agreed on core demands that cut across the sectors. Shop stewards must explain what the NBC decided (see core demands in the box) and ask them if they have anything to add.

Are there any changes with regard to the bargaining process?

Before we would decide whether a sub-committee is needed while negotiations were on the go. This year, we will set up sub-committees right from the start. Each plant, including the satellites, will be represented by one person. The sub-committees will negotiate or narrow down the issues referred to them. They will sit in between the bigger meetings.

What if there is a deadlock?

If we deadlock but before we declare a dispute or give notice, then we have put a provision that the facilitator must then say ‘Look Mr company you are unreasonable’, or whoever. The facilitator must give an opinion. Then we will have a high-powered delegation meeting with the general secretary, the president, myself and the chair of the auto NSSC with our counterparts from the employers’ side – the CEOs of Naamsa and Ameo.

The facilitator(s) will then sit and listen and try and resolve the impasse. After they have deliberated on the matter they will come back and give us what they feel should happen. It is not an arbitration, it is not binding, it is a mechanism of trying to resolve the deadlock. Then the recommendation goes back to the NSSC and then finally obviously goes to the CC or NEC whichever is sitting and this meeting takes the final decision like we normally do.

Auto bargaining time table




February/early March

Training for auto shop stewards on the national auto agreement (NBF agreement)

shop stewards to learn and understand the agreement
identify problems with agreement


General meetings of all auto workers

report on NBC core demands agreed last year
discuss current agreement – what changes, what demands do workers want


Regional auto shop steward councils in Northern Transvaal , KZN and Eastern Cape

formulate regional positions
(In Gauteng , the VWSA, Toyota and DCSA shop stewards to attend Northern Transvaal meeting.)


National Auto shop steward council

consolidate regional positions into one national position

19 March

Pre-bargaining meeting Numsa president, general secretary plus auto bargaining representatives will meet with key auto industry leaders.

Trade unions and employers to put their positions, problems.

29-30 March

Central Committee

finalise Numsa position

1 April

send demands to employers

April – May


Will a similar process happen for tyre as well?

We will try and hold workshops to familiarise new shop stewards on agreement. Shop stewards must then talk to general members. From there demands will go straight to the NSSC. With tyre we can’t have RSSC because you only have Dunlop in KZN, Firestone, Continental and Goodyear in Port Elizabeth and in Brits only Firestone. From the NSSC, the CC will take a decision on the demands. We will follow the same process as auto. In tyre we do not have permanent sub-committees like in auto. We want to start negotiations from around May.

Core demands adopted by Numsa’s National Bargaining Conference, April 2003

Wages and Duration of the agreement:

Numsa will:

demand a wage increase of the consumer price index (CPI-X) plus 5% improvement factor.
continue to narrow the wage gap.
demand that wages of motor workers are backdated to the date of the signing of the collective agreement.
demand two year wage agreements in engineering and motor.

Job Security

Numsa will:

protect and defend jobs of its members at all costs.
demand that employers establish both an Entitlement Fund and a Work Security Fund.
struggle for an increased retrenchment package.
resist the casualisation of its members.

Workplace Restructuring

Numsa will ensure that:

employment is guaranteed in restructured companies;
restructured companies maintain and improve working conditions and wages;
retrenchment will be resisted
outsourcing being a S197 issue, all workers who are transferred must enjoy the same terms and conditions of employment.

Grading and Training

Numsa will demand that:

training should take place during working hours;
employment should be guaranteed for learnerships
there should be an increase in apprenticeships;
the wages paid to an apprentice and someone in a learnership should be equal.;
employers should commit themselves to train and equip workers;
all employers must comply with the relevant Acts.
the union will continue to negotiate work-place skills plans at plant level;
training committees will be established in all plants.

Health and Safety

Numsa will:

fight for improved health and safety conditions;
negotiate for health and safety committees to be established in all workplaces;
demand that employers pay for and allow time off for pap smears and prostate testing;
demand that family responsibility leave be increased;
demand that companies that fail to comply with health and safety measures and regulations should be reported to the Department of Labour.


Numsa will demand that:

companies provide anti-retroviral drugs free;
companies provide access to sustainable anti-retroviral therapy when clinically indicated;
companies establish policies and programmes to provide for education, counselling and support for people living with HIV/Aids and their families;
companies end all discrimination against people living with HIV/Aids.

Labour Brokers

Numsa will:

demand that after three months any workers provided by a labour broker are deemed to be permanent employees of the client company;
continue to resist, using its strength and power, the employers’ use of labour brokers.
continue to force labour brokers to comply with the centralised agreements in our industry.