Striking tyre workers embark on countrywide marches

The tyre industry is braced for protest marches tomorrow (Thursday) in Port Elizabeth, Durban, Ladysmith and Brits in North West.

Almost 6 000 members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) in six tyre manufacturing plants went out on a two-weeks old strike over wage dispute.

Tomorrow’s(Thursday) scheduled tyre workers marches from Firestone, Goodyear and Continental, including members of the community will start in Centenary Great Hall in Port Elizabeth’s New Brighton at 10am to Continental Tyre Manufacturers in North End. About 4 000 union members will hand over memorandum to New Tyre Manufacturing Industry Association spokesperson Attie Higgs at Continental plant.

Other 2 000 striking Numsa members in Durban, Ladysmith will hand over their memoranda to Dunlop management and in Brits to Bridgestone plant management.

Numsa’s determination to resolve the strike is marked by frantic efforts in our part and current engagements in bilateral meetings with respective employer managements. Our approach to current negotiations is that management engage should in good faith as our demands in the tyre industry are not unreasonable if consideration is given to excessive profits creamed off by the tyre employers.

And, in this regard our resolve to find a speedy settlement will be measured by the planned industry- wide solidarity protest actions which will involve more than 15 000 employees in auto manufacturing industry.

Numsa central committee weekend meeting has taken a decision to mobilize union members in original equipment manufacturers in the motor and component employers throughout the regions to embark on solidarity action in August 2007 if the tyre strike is not resolved with immediate effect.

We hope tyre industry management will come to their senses and we assure them our preparedness to reciprocate this with sanity and smartness as 10% wage increase and other related conditions of employment demands are justifiable.

For further information contact:

Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson

Cell phone: 082 9407116

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