DATE: 27 July 2004
Johannesburg Press release – for immediate release
NO STRIKE YET IN THE CAR INDUSTRY OVER WAGE ISSUES.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) will not issue a notice to strike today 26/07/2004 in the car vehicle industry. This comes after the union engaged in talks with Automobile Manufacturers Employers Organisation (AMEO) over wage proposals on Friday last week. The union has noted extensive progress in the talks and once again will consult workers and announce its decision on Thursday 29/07/2004 whether to strike or accept the new wage proposals from employers. The union will not divulge the new wage proposals until all 21 000 workers are fully consulted. The employer organization has since offered a wage increase of 6,5% across the board.
The wage talks so far have been focusing essentially on the core and substance of the wage demands. The union has weighed its options and will for now not pursue an option to give employers a notice to strike. In the light of progress made in the talks, workers must be informed on various aspects of the talks so that they can finally decide on the wage deadlock. The participatory process of consultation, evaluating, having discussions and feeding the information back to workers result in a deeper and more durable understanding towards a positive outcome. Any wage agreement should be in the best interest of workers.
The reality on the ground is that workers spend most of their money on transport and food. On the basis of the available data transport costs have increased systematically as a result of the recent increase in fuel prices. Even if there is reduction on the petrol price the sad situation is that taxi fares do not decrease. The taxi fares are not lowered. The food prices remain averagely high despite reduction in interest rates and government intervention on food prices. Food prices are consciously manipulated by retailers.
Workers in the car industry deserve to be paid better based on the fact that they are producing good quality cars. Workers must get the share of exports profits. There are other contentious issues that need to be addressed by workers so that any wage increases improve their standard of living. The fact of the matter is that the industry must pay workers good wages as worker performance has been impressive in the last six years. The solution to lower wage increases can only be provided by high wage increases.
-A guaranteed wage increase of 9% percent across the board;
– 3-year wage agreement;
-Training should take place during working hours;
-100% payment of maternity leave;
-For every artisan there must be one apprentice;
-Workers working under the labour brokers should be employed permanently after 3 months;
-Any bonus should be calculated at 9%;
-Provide anti-retroviral drugs to HIVAIDS sufferers and must be given 30 days sick leave circle;
-Negotiate additional categories of workers for level 5;
-5 days per occurrence for family responsibility leave.
For more information contact Dumisa Ntuli @ (011) 689 1700 or cell 0829737282