Motor workers settle and win!'Just-in-time' proved to be just out of time for auto manufacturers during the motor strike. One after the other closed down production and sent their workers home after a strike by motor components workers stopped their supplies coming.
After a 6-day strike, motor workers were due to go back to work on Wednesday September 26 just as Numsa News went to print. They showed Numsa's other sectors that they too could do it and in the process secured a 9% wage increase, a lifting of the cap on retrenchment pay and a commitment to better policing of labour brokers. (see details below)
Motor agreement September 1 2007 to August 31 2010.
Wages Wage increases on minimum rates of pay are as per the table below:
Wage increases on minimum rates of pay
1 – parking attendants and watchmen
Experiential student* Increase the limit to one year as long as it is because of the student's studies or curriculum
Tow-bar fitter* to be paid at grade 5 (includes connection of pre-fitted couplings)
Additional holiday pay equal to two weeks prescribed minimum wages
Standby and callout allowances increase to:Standby – R70Callout – R75In year 2 and 3 of the agreement, allowances will increase by the same percentage as the wage of grade 8 employees.
Supply of tools increase to R30 per week up to a maximum of R4500 (equal to a 3-year trade)
Suspension of an employee who earns commissionIf an employee who is a commission earner is suspended pending a disciplinary hearing and is subsequently found not guilty, s/he will receive remuneration for the time that s/he was suspended.
Commission earners* The employer must put in writing the basis of the commission that s/he will pay the worker.* If the employer wants to change or cancel the basis of the commission, the employer shall:* give 4 weeks written notice (a parts salesperson or service supply salesperson is only entitled to 1 weeks notice)* include in the written notice: – the reasons for the proposed changes or cancellation – the date the changes will take effect* allow the affected person to make representations on any of the changes.
Retirement funds* 6 months waiting period for retirement funds for new employees (excludes fixed term and probationary employees)
Retrenchment pay – two weeks wages for the first four years service and one weeks wages for the next completed 12 years service
Grading and training issues are referred to working groups.
Component Manufacturing – Chapter III
Wages – increases on actual rates of pay:2007/8 9%2008/9 8%2009/10 7,5%
*Minimum entry level wage to increase from R8,36 to R11,31 over three years*4 weeks leave after 5 years of service*Annual bonus of 3 weeks calculated on actual wages
Issues referred to working groups from Chapter III:* reduction in hours of work* changing of agreement to end on June 30 2010
BriefsStill no progress on motor funds surplusThe Financial Services Board (FSB) has still not approved the surplus distribution for the Autoworkers Pension and Provident Funds. "We have already submitted the scheme to the registrar of the Financial Services Board (FSB) for approval," says Jerry Msibi, a motor retirement fund trustee.
"We have been told by the actuaries that the regulator has a few problems but that we will get our approval soon. We hope that before the end of the year money will be in the workers' pockets!"But he is worried that out of 300 000 former members, only 70 000 have returned the forms. If you know anyone that used to work in the motor industry, please tell them to contact Benefit Recovery Services on: 086 727 7007
Moto Health Care – Sam Tsiane
Elias Kubeka, Numsa motor sector coordinator admits that in the last six months the motor medical aid scheme, Moto Health Care, has experienced difficulties. A lot of service providers were not paid for the services they had rendered to Moto Health members, members could not get through to consultants at the call centre and pre-authorisation for hospital and dentists could not be secured within 24 hours.
Board member and shop steward, Johannes Mthimunye, says that what made things worse was that service providers were reluctant to accept Moto Health membership cards.
The major cause of this was the merger of the two motor medical aid funds – Automed and Mimed. However Mthimunye is confident that these problems are now all in the past as all the problems have been addressed."We are looking forward to 2008 as we are busy with benefit design. Soon we will be sending members option forms. We urge members to choose a suitable option that they can afford."
Massive pay rise for petrol attendants!Worker power wins the dayâ€¦From September 5, petrol attendants in small towns will see their wages almost double to R11.31 per hour. In cities their counterparts will receive a whopping 68% wage increase to bring them up to this rate. But the increase didnâ€™t just fall out of nowhere.
Since the 8-week strike by motor workers in 1998, Numsa has been working hard to improve motor workers' wages. And strangely enough, it was auto workers that helped them in their plight! When auto workers went on strike in the Eastern Cape in the 1980s demanding a living wage of R2 an hour, little did they know that their living wage campaign would help their fellow petrol attendant comrades almost 30 years later! South Africa was in the grips of apartheid.
International groups were targeting multinational companies (MNCs) to see whether they were benefiting from apartheid. Pressure was put on MNCs to pay a living wage. This prompted auto employers like VW and Mercedes Benz to approach the University of Port Elizabeth to develop a figure that would develop a living wage measure. Out of this the Household Subsistence Level (HSL) study developed. Every six months, researchers would measure the prices of a basket of goods that they declared a family of five needed to survive.
This included food, basic clothing, transport costs, toiletries right down to how many toothbrushes and panties you needed per year! When motor workers went on their 8-week strike in 1998, petrol attendants joined in numbers. But when they went back to work, Numsa had "achieved little" for them says past motor sector coordinator, Sam Tsiane.
However, negotiations had agreed to set up an industry policy forum to address outstanding issues.It was to this body that Numsa took the issue of the low petrol attendant wages. Parties agreed to ask the University of Potchefstroom to come up with a living wage measure for petrol attendants.
But when the university demanded a sum of R2m to do this, the project came unstuck. Instead parties turned to the old UPE (now Nelson Mandela University) HSL figures for guidance.
They found that petrol attendants' wages were way below the HSL. Parties fixed on a target to achieve a minimum wage of R2200 per month. However fuel retailer employers claimed that they were powerless to do anything. "They told us the 'Department (of Minerals and Energy) sets the petrol price and the profit margins", remembers Tsiane."It was worker action in 2004 that put employers in a corner," says Tsiane.
"During negotiations we organised pickets and demonstrations. Employers worried that a strike was looming." Out of these negotiations Numsa had a meeting in February 2005 with then Minister of Minerals and Energy, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. She gave an in principle agreement to raise the level of wages of petrol attendants. Since then parties have worked on the practicalities of achieving this. The rest is history!
New rates and conditions for petrol attendant From September 5 2007
* minimum wage – R509 for a 45 hour week (R11.31 per hour) across the whole of South Africa.* Those earning above – R1,02 per hour or R45,81 increase per week.* diesel-only fuel outlets – R330,11 per week or R7,34 per hour in Area A (big cities) and R288,71 per week or R6,42 per hour in other areas. If earning above – guaranteed increase of R27,26 per week.* Overtime – 1 and a half times normal pay* If working on Sunday as part of normal shift, rate = 1 and a half times normal pay* If working overtime on Sunday, rate = double normal pay
Motor workers join up!
In July and August Numsa's motor membership increased by more than 3000 as unorganised workers continued to join Numsa. This was on top of the 800 that joined in June. Regions that scored the most new members were Hlanganani and KwaZulu Natal. Nkhangweni Masutha spoke to Takalani, one of the new members in his region:
Why have you decided to come and join Numsa?I have been following the current state of affairs in the labour arena, where almost all organised labour, from the public sector to the private sector, was at loggerheads with their employers and which ended in industrial action.
What was your observation?
Join Numsa!If you are a motor worker in Gauteng and Limpopo and would like to join Numsa contact one of these recruiters:* Nokufa Zengele (covers Johannesburg, Kempton Park, Roodepoort, Chloorkop) 076 912 3302* Terence Masilo (covers Limpopo from Tshwane north as well as Rustenburg) 072 128 4324* Harrison Livi (covers Ekurhuleni) 073 207 5584
My observation was that almost 80 to 90% of workers from different trade unions, black dominated and white dominated, were together in these strikes. Speaking with one voice, they could achieve what they wanted. It was historic – the first of its kind!
How long have you been at your present workplace?I started there around March 2005.
Why all of a sudden did you decide to join Numsa now?It is because of the bad treatment by the employer. We get more work but less money and the only way to achieve better salary and better conditions is through a revolutionary trade union like Numsa.
Why did you decide to join Numsa in particular?We were receiving Numsa News and we see the benefit that Numsa does for its members. We know that Numsa is not the only union organising in the industry but these other unions we havenâ€™t seen what they have done for their members.