Numsa file 48-hour notice for biggest show of strike power in the auto industry

IF you thought a rather early wage settlement in the auto manufacturing industry is settling in without a strike, think again.

About 15 000 workers in the car manufacturing industry have given employers an ultimatum to negotiate this week in good faith and reach a settlement or brace themselves for a bigger show of labour power precipitated by the worst disruptive strike action scheduled for next week.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is to file a 48-hour notice on Friday ((17 August, 2007) in preparation for a major industrial action which involves eight car manufacturers in the country unless employers displayed a fresh commitment to resolve the wage dispute.

A facilitator’s three-year wage settlement proposal presented to both parties, entails 9% across-the- board increase for this year, 8% for the second year and 7,5% for 2009.

Negotiations have again reached a stalemate after chief executive officers of respective car plants in rejecting a settlement proposal by the independent conciliation, said they were not mandated to engage in negotiations unless all other costly demands were removed from the negotiations table.

The union’s revised demands include 9,5% increase for this year, 8,5% and 8% respectively for the second and the third years , in addition to 4% increase demand in employer’s contribution to the provident fund.

Other demands also included 20% increase for rotational night shift and 15% for afternoon shifts with provision of transport.

Wage talks between Numsa, representing 15 000 members and the Auto Manufacturers Employers Association have reached a make or break phase, as members insisted that these cost-related demands were also important, says Numsa auto, tyre and rubber national chief negotiator Herman Ntlatleng.

It remains to be seen whether employers’ negative attitude and myopic approach to current wage talks will help them earn more profits and economic gains for the industry or further deprivation from adversarial relationships in future.

Numsa is determined to continue fighting for an end unilateral decision-making by these multinational corporations. We want to see these replaced instead by meaningful consultation on key issues affecting the country’s production points.

The union further demanded establishment of an industry policy forum to ensure effective transformation in the industry is taking place followed by skills development and employment equity.

For further information contact:

Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson

Cell phone: 082 9407116

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