Labour broker’s R1m loan to bus builder depicts sordid deception (March 26, 2009 – 9:52 AM)

It is a miracle that the budding bus body manufacturer has presented a lasting impression after its deeply distressing experiences of grappling with hard economic times.

The terminally- ill medium-sized bus builder Santini, almost died clutching the hand of its most treasured labour consultant in December 2008, when the company failed to pay employees’ year-end bonuses.

Strife reigned supreme in Santini which had lucrative contracts with Gabonese government and Eastern Cape Development Corporation bus company immediately after the new management took over the company as a going concern in April last year long before the global economic meltdown came into reality in the small bustling industrial area of Spring, East of Johannesburg.  

Bitter wrangling between management and 86 permanent employees over working conditions followed and soon worsened over additional 80 contract workers employed by the company labour broker who were paid bonuses in full and earned their weekly wages at appropriate times when permanent employees often received their monthly wages a fortnight later.

Then unconfirmed reports rampaged since December last year that the business was to shut down because of cash flow problems, and the radiant good looks of the promising new bus building company finally began to sputter.

Local officials of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) had to intervene when the company demanded to be let off from arrear bonuses because it could not afford workers’ wage bill in February and March unless it issued lay- offs and short time notices.

It also came to light that the labour brokerage services could not be the first to be withdrawn as required in terms of the national motor industry agreement before other options affecting employees were considered, because the company owed the labour broker more than R1 million in unpaid fees.

Numsa local organizer in Springs Mandla Jele also disclosed that the labour broker offered to save the company from closing down with further working capital loans to buy materials on condition that the company continued to hire its labour force, the majority of which paid its membership subscription to Numsa. 

But this was rejected by Numsa regional office and instructed the company to remove the labour brokers with immediate effect, pointing out that it cannot be compromised by the management tricks.

The management has meanwhile gone ahead issuing short- time notices to workers today (Tuesday).


For more information contact:-

Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson


Numsa News