Chinese shop shuts down to oppose compulsory SABS standards

13 November 2006

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa(Numsa) has strongly lashed out at the Chinese- based Tao Ying stove company over its decision to lay-off its 320 staff members because it could not stand new production standards set by government.

Tao Ying, producer of non-pressure stove and heaters in Botshabelo outside Bloemfontein has decided to shut down operations for several weeks during the festive season. Their action is intended to object to the Government’s move to implement compulsory specifications for paraffin stoves and heaters which is effected from January 1, 2007.

And, the new Act has rendered all the stove items produced by the company previously without recommendations of the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) illegal to distribute and sell by the Chinese in the country.

Next week (November 20, 2006), all the company employees will be effectively laid- off or might be required return to work only after all the production lines in store were sold out, the company said.

The Department of Trade and Industry’s initiated new regulations are meant to crack down on dangerous paraffin stoves that each year destroys more than 50 000 shacks causing hundreds of deaths and injuries.

Tao Ying threaten its 320, most of whom are Numsa members with retrenchments and make them suffer as a result of the strict specifications and indicated that it wanted to lay them off for possibly longer periods.

Numsa organiser Samuel Malinga said discussions around making stoves safer have been going on for the past two years and the union had begun engaging the metal and engineering industry bargaining council to try and persuade the government to extend January 1, 2007 deadline in order to save 320 jobs.

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