Swiss/Swedish multinational Power transformers’ production grounded

AT least 300 operators aligned to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) at Swiss/Swedish multinational ABB Powertech Transformers in Pretoria today (Thursday) went on a major disruptive strike.

Striking operators had surrendered their last year’s annual bonus payment because management had reneged on effecting the in-principle agreement reached on future bonus scheme.

On Thursday, the operators downed tools to demand payments of bonuses equivalent R10 000 to each qualifying employee on March 15, 2007.

And, workers also insisted that management allocate one percent of the management’s collective bonus of R2, 9 million for March 1, 2006 – March 1, 2007 to workers.

Management reportedly granted themselves R100 000 bonuses each, while workers took home R1, 600 bonuses, last year.

“It is the management’s intransigent approach to our negotiations over bonuses which sought to reduce production bonus payments drastically by implementing complicated payment systems with intricate levels of ratings,” Jorsiah Motubatse, local shop stewards’ council chairperson said.

The indefinite strike, will consequently impact severely on electricity distribution throughout the country. This would result on power cuts currently affecting many areas as the company’s core business is to manufacture power transformers for Eskom until management resumed negotiations in good faith.

Management, instead had proposed to implement a new bonus scheme based on on-time delivery production, limiting erroneous production beats and also centering on different capacities of transformers produced. The union opposed the system because it would be easily manipulated in order to reduce bonus payments.

Employees were also disgruntled that management penalized them for foreign bought production materials which were never received after a goods ship carrying the material sunk into the deep sea last year.

For more information contact:

Mziwakhe Hlangani, National information officer

Cell phone: 082 9407116


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