Dispute at VWSA over outsourcing & incentive scheme

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa [NUMSA] has declared a dispute at the VWSA company in Uitenhage over incentive scheme and unilateral outsourcing of the packing department at the parts distribution division at Roodekop in Gauteng to a labour broker.

The company has failed to resolve the dispute amicably and workers are considering a strike action. Workers want to get the share of the profits if the company reaches certain production targets. This will motivate the workforce and increase the performance of the company. It is necessary to improve performance based award systems for workers to be effective. Workers complain that the current performance award system does not support the development of workers.

We do not find genuine reasons for restructuring internal operations because most of the workers have skills and experience to do the job. The packing department is the core business of the company, it should not be outsourced. Certainly outsourcing does not in all instances result in radical transformation and efficiency of operations.

Workers cannot derive any comfort from outsourcing, labour brokering and unilateralism. These aspects have anti-union and isolationist approach to VWSA problems. We believe that the company has bent the stick too far in one direction without considering the impact of outsourcing. It is our firm assertion that outsourcing is less appealing when placed under microscope, and there are no simple solutions between standards and efficiency.

The truth is that outsourcing lead to lowering of acceptable labour standards and jobs. Outsourcing becomes more dangerous if it is coupled with labour brokers. Labour brokers undermine labour standards and vary down all benefits of workers. Labour brokers enjoy non-standard form of employment with greater use of contract, part time, temporary and subcontracted arrangements. Therefore, this is invariable dangerous in a unionized company like VWSA.

There is no logic to outsource the operations. We therefore think that company was ill-advised. We have always informed the company that it is worthwhile sharing information in the way it will bring labour stability. We will never be convinced that outsourcing will increase the performance of the company. Against this background, we maintain that outsourcing is unwarranted and does not achieve variability of labour costs to production.

[For further information please contact Dumisa Ntuli @ 011 689 1700 or 0829737282]