On The Shopfloor: Ntlatleng speaks

Ntlatleng speaksAggressive employers are dragging their feet on implementing signed agreements, Numsa’s auto sector coordinator, Herman Ntlatleng, told shop stewards attending a Uitenhage local shop stewards at the end of March.

Regarding labour brokers, employers seem to ignore the understanding on how many are allowed and when the employer can use them. The 2004 tyre sector agreement is overlooked as labour sharks seem to eat and swallow every bit of new contracts coming their way. Industrialists claim easy victories because workers are reluctant to speak with one voice, “the strength of our members is not the same from company to company” and capitalism sails smoothly gaining bigger profits. Furthermore, the agency fees paid are never enough as they only cater for shop stewards’ training.

Ntlatleng also noted that there is a need to consolidate all agreements into one so that bosses do not hide behind any bush when it comes to implementing matters of interest and of benefit to workers. Ntlatleng said that there was still a long way to go to achieve one industry fund in the auto sector. Employers have openly displayed a disdainful attitude. They want to stay with the seven provident funds currently operating; they don’t trust a Union-backed industry fund, claiming that the one fund proposed by unions will lack experience, be viewed with mistrust and be corrupt.

There is no agreement on a service provider. Union negotiators want a black company. Employers first opposed, then agreed, only to disagree again.

On work security fundThe 5c per hour paid by employers for each employee is far from enough, Ntlatleng told the shop stewards. Added to this, the money generated in the past had almost never been used for the purpose it was meant. Employers ought to have paid workers whilst on short time. Instead they fired human-beings. Recent agreements reached with respective unions maintain that the funds should now be used for ABET, to train retrenched workers, to sustain short-time pay and to strengthen existing co-operatives.

On co-operativesAll industries should implement co-operatives. However, there is no agreement yet how to use co-operative monies. Goodyear, Firestone and General Tyre should formulate one co-operative. Workers who see co-operatives as stumbling blocks towards their savings-clubs should be politicised.

Add to this, borrowing money from loan sharks and bank institutions with huge interest, is killing workers. Workers need to be educated that co-operatives aim to uplift their living standards, because when they take money from these co-operatives, interest accrued is invested back into their own monies, for their own good.

“Will our membership ever gear themselves up to take the issue of co-operatives with the seriousness it requires?” asked Ntlatleng.

Aviation seat manufacturer will be forced to stop hiring casualsBy Mziwakhe Hlangani

At least 350 workers at multinational aviation seat manufacturer Aerodyna in Cape Town are preparing for a legal strike to stop the employment of more contract workers. This emerged when the contracts of 30 employees came to an end at the end of March but were immediately replaced with 90 new contract employees. These new contract workers were ostensibly offered higher job grades and better wages than the permanent employees.

Workers were so incensed that they downed tools. But things got out of hand when security guards allegedly set dogs on striking workers, seriously injuring one contract worker. When Numsa organiser, Faizel Carelse, tried to intervene to calm the situation, police summoned by management, arrested him briefly for trespassing.

“Management alone is to blame for further disruptions and work stoppages,” Carelse said. “It refused to terminate the contract with the labour broker and disregarded negotiations with the unions on the requirements to outsource some of the operations.”

The company has further barred Numsa organisers and shop stewards from conducting meetings with workers within the company premises.

When workers marched out in their numbers to continue with their meeting on the streets, company management ordered that senior officers should closely monitor the workers’ meeting and video-recorded the proceedings. Numsa is shocked at the local management’s conservative attitude and myopic approach to workers’ justifiable demands for consultations on outsourcing of work operations.

May is energy efficiency month!

Follow these tips and save:

Use a thermostatically controlled oil heater to regulate the room temperature
Keep doors and windows [and curtains at night] closed so that heaters do not have to work too hard
Turn off the lights when you leave a room
Replace regular light globes with energy saving lamps – they use about a quarter of the electricity and last 6 to 8 times longer
Use low energy lamps for exterior lighting, with timers or light sensors for switching
Ensure that the seals on the refrigerator doors are in good condition and that the doors close properly
If you are making one cup of tea, boil only enough water for one cup and use a kettle rather than the stove
The size of the pot on your stove should match the size of the stove plate – this can save you up to 25% electricity while cooking. Use a pot with a flat bottom.
Soak beans, samp and other similar dry foods over night – save time, money and several hours of cooking
Be sure that all gas cooking burners burn with a blue, cone-shaped flame. A yellow flame indicates clogged air inlets or burners that need adjustment or the valves need cleaning.
Make sure that the flame of paraffin cookers also burns blue for more efficient fuel usage
Leave windows only about two centimetres open when heating the home with coal – this will give you enough ventilation.
When lighting a coal fire, use the “Basa njengo Magogo” fire lighting method as follows: Lay down coal, paper, then wood, and a few lumps of coal on top at the right time after the fire has been lit. Using the Basa njengo Magogo method achieves significant energy and money savings, and environmental benefits.

These include

Less polluting smoke in the homes and streets
Only one “˜Basa njengo Magogo’ fire is needed daily
The fire is ready for cooking in only 20 minutes
Only half the amount of coal is needed each week – about 12kg instead of 25kg.

[Thanks to Department of Minerals and Energy for information]