NATIONAL UNION OF METALWORKERS OF SOUTH AFRICA
153 Bree Street (cnr. Becker), P.O. Box 260483
Johannesburg, Tel: 011-689 1700
Fax: 011-833 6330
cell : 083729 3374
Press statement for immediate release, January 16, 2006
NUMSA fumes over alleged “conspiratorial intent” by short-term insurers to deny blacks entry into a R9-billion procurement slice.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) – which represents metalworkers in the major auto assembly and components manufacturers, engineering industries, motor retail, garages, panel beating and towing suppliers – is deeply disturbed by yet another threatened 20 000 job cuts in the panel beating and towing services sector.
NUMSA is seething with anger at the allegations that the short-term insurance industry and white panel- beaters allegedly conspired to create their own list of approved panel beaters by demanding that black suppliers met their own stringent requirements in order to be registered.
For the metalworkers’ union this year started on a bad note amid fears that 1005 major black panel beaters are to close down. It is because they are losing out on a R9-billion panel beating procurement slice.
This has emerged after key black panel beating suppliers have lodged a dispute against white- controlled short-term insurers for allegedly refusing black suppliers and informal business entry into the economic mainstream.
The country boasts a vibrant informal market for panel beating services, parts procurement and mechanical workshops, but most failed to be registered because they could not meet standards and criteria set by white-controlled South African Insurance Association.
NUMSA is also gravely concerned and shocked at the allegations that the giant short-term insurers and white panel- beaters colluded in the alleged price- fixing practices to ensure that budding black entrepreneurs were sidelined.
The union is pledging its unyielding support to the thousands of black panel- beaters and mobilize about 100 000 union members in the motor sector to march on Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industries offices in Auckland Park on January 19, 2006 because more jobs would be lost as white panel- beaters and short-term insurers were reportedly engaged in unfair labour practices in order to make huge profits at the expense of job creation initiatives.
We want government to intervene because the black economic empowerment practices will continue to be undermined in all economic sectors, if no action is being taken. The union is to approach also the competition board to ensure that the short-term insurance industry did not make a mockery of the celebrated black economic empowerment ideals and the financial sector charter.
NUMSA has pledged to back the National African Association for Automobile Services Providers protest demonstration against racism in the short term insurance industry at the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry offices in the Johannesburg University Campus in Auckland Park on 19 January, 2006.
The black panel beaters’ demand among others include:-
Removal of the racist panel selection committees that were formulated by elitist groups.
Empowerment fund to be set up to help promote skills development of formerly disadvantaged business and that short term insurers should stop promoting black fronting companies.
NUMSA national information officer
e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org