Ford workers incensed by retrenchment of 20% of its staff

Ford motor company is at it again- engaging in dishonest double-talk- while it is supposed to negotiate in earnest with labour in order to resolve threatened job retrenchments at its two plants.

Operations in Port Elizabeth’s Ford engine plant and car assembly manufacturing at Silverton in Pretoria will be forced to retrench a further 800 employees due to declining production capacity.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is extremely peeved that the company announced massive lay offs while it is still engaged in Section 189 negotiations with the intention to minimize possible retrenchments.

While it is with regret to learn that the Rocam engine product life cycle has come to a virtual slowdown with production volumes down to 80 000 from (206 000) per annum, Numsa is surprised at the reckless manner in which management handled these negotiations at the council for conciliation mediation and arbitration (CCMA).

It appeared that the anticipated lay offs is a fait accompli, given the management’s preparedness to spread rumours about the retrenchments in order to prepare people for that eventuality even before intensive negotiations had begun to find ways of avoiding job cuts.

“What is clear is that Ford management is not interested in avoiding retrenchments or finding a resolution jointly with labour,” Numsa local shop steward council deputy chairperson Reuben Maseko said today (Thursday).

Planned retrenchments will have a ripple effect in the auto component industry supply chain when the local car manufacturing market went through severe state of depression. The company has a staff complement of 3183 hourly paid employees in both Pretoria and Port Elizabeth plants.

The company said it envisaged retrenchment of 485 hourly paid employees in the production and related areas at the assembly plant in Pretoria, while 220 hourly paid workers in the Straundale engine plant were to lose their jobs if no feasible plan was put forward to avoid possible retrenchments.

It is more frustrating to learn that management is not that much committed to the consultation process which begins in October 2008, while it recently committed itself to a massive R1, 5 billion global export programmes in order to boost motor manufacturing growth and global auto industry competitiveness.

For further information contact:

Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson

Cell phone: 082 9407116



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