East Cape metalworkers to hit centres of scandalous retrenchments

Major auto assembly and component manufacturing companies in the Eastern Cape are the latest targets of metalworkers’ biggest strike on Thursday (18 May) over “reprehensible tactics” used by most companies to retrench workers and outsource operations.

The country’s largest metalworkers’ union – the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) – is preparing to square up with Daimler Chrysler South Africa and leather seat manufacturer Johnson Controls SA, among others, in protest against alleged retrenchments threats of 320 workers and plans to relocate both companies to Germany and North America, respectively.

This week’s general strike is in support of COSATU’s jobs and poverty campaign, with one- day work stayaway, marches and picket demonstrations by manufacturing sector unions, public sector and mining, construction and private services unions aligned to COSATU.

“What infuriated metalworkers is the way Daimler Chrysler and BMW forced Johnson Controls to cede its export certificate and they themselves took over the shipping of the leather seats to North America and Germany in the name of Johnson Controls in order to cream off profits through Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP) benefits provided by government,” NUMSA Eastern Cape regional secretary Irvin Jim said yesterday.

Now that Daimler Chrysler and Johnson Controls took a decision, Jim fumed “to consider pulling out of the country in consultation with their mother plants, did this without any consideration for the implication of their decision to destruction of job opportunities as their cost reduction strategy leaves us in the lurch.”

Volkswagen in Uitenhage, General Motors in Port Elizabeth and Straunways’Ford Engine plant were among major companies to be worst affected by the strike action to also demand secured jobs lost through restructuring.

Jim also warned that NUMSA was more than prepared to intensify the strike in a bid to put pressure to bear on original export manufacturing companies (OEMs) to stop dictating to component sector suppliers and forces them to employ casual workers in order to ensure drastic manufacturing cost reduction.

For more information contact:-

NUMSA national information officer Mziwakhe Hlangani

Cell phone: 082 9407116