Metalworkers’ dispute with the local cookware manufacturer escalates

A row between metalworkers and Hendler Hart cookware maker over the unilateral transfer of employees to labour broker contract is threatening to scupper union and employer recognition agreement.

Yesterday striking members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) also threatened that the strike would escalate with solidarity strike action unless employers agreed to permanent employment of the workers and end to labour brokerage system. The strike at Hendler Hart in Boksburg entered its fourth week Monday (July 28, 2008).

Other issues raised by about 160 striking workers which threatened to break down employer relations agreement, include failure by the company to provide safety gear for employees exposed to health hazard work environment and refusal by the company to implement employment equity values in terms of the government regulations.

Consistent with Numsa demand for labour brokerages to come to an end, the government also suggested that the company signed up on a permanent basis about 70% of the contract workers. And the company reneged on this promise.

The African Labour Recruitment (ALR) service was introduced last month after the company’s long-time labour consultant had switched his services with provision a comprehensive human resources contract service, resulting to several employees who worked on contract for 10 – 15 years being denied a full- time employment.

Numsa, will over the week consider staging other forms of solidarity actions after seeking legal opinion on secondary strikes in order to ensure that the parties involved in a prolonged strife reach a final settlement soon.

For further information contact:

Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson

Cell phone: 082 9407116