Motor retail employers must now brace for a strike.

DATE : 13 August 2004



The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is preparing for a large scale mobilization of 180 000 workers in the petrol stations , component manufacturing , car dealer shops and panel beating shops. The union will put a strike notice in the meeting today 10/08/2004, for a strike to resume on 1st September 2004. The wage talks are scheduled to continue until tomorrow. The union declared a dispute three months ago with the Fuel Retailers Association (FRA) and the Retail Motor Industry (RMI) , after employers failed to give a wage offer for all workers. The union has submitted the following demands:

A wage increase of 10% for grade 7 and 8 and 12% for grades 1 and 6.

R10 per hour minimum wage for all workers.

Night shift allowance of 20%: afternoon shift – 10%.

40 hour per week.

Three year agreement

Workers knocking off after 20H00 should get free transport.

Area wage differentials must be removed immediately.

Four weeks bonus at the end of 12 months.

We have taken an aggressive strategy against motor retail employers. There is no positive outlook since the talks started three months ago and workers are furious. There is no value in talking when the results are not encouraging and there is no wage offer. This is a typical case of employer’s failure to make wage talks completely dysfunctional. Concretely, employers failed to meet all union demands. Our objective is to embark on action to influence the outcome. Workers have come to realise that employers are not serious. Many workers are anxious for a wage increase. Wages in the industry have not been prodigious and many workers earn extremely low wages. Unfortunately, employers have not ensured that workers living standards are improved. There is still a long way to go in the talks. Employers have not been open to new bargaining options. We need to be clear that better wage increase contribute to poverty alleviation and unemployment. It is opportune time to pull a strike regardless of painful dimensional circumstances the action will have on the primary employer. There is absolutely no wage increase, the strike will be the weapon to compel employers to dig deep in their profits.

We want to ensure that wage increase is tied to real improvement of workers over and above what they can attain. Workers are paid pittances. It is very heartbreaking to realise that workers in the motor retail sector are paid lower than old age pensioners. Therefore, there should be mechanism for action to promote change in the industry. This requires the union not to make excuses but fight to turn things around. The minimum wage policies in the industry are perverse and counter productive.

For more information or interviews contact Dumisa Ntuli at (011) 689-1700 or 0829737282. website