Motor industry’s juggling act to avoid sector slump “won’t work without us”-Numsa

The metalworkers’ giant union has issued a stark warning that the car industry strategy to secretly secure a cash-flow deal with government and retrench workers at the same time in order to save the industry from economic collapse will not work.

Irvin Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), in a letter to the Department of Trade and Industry minister Mandisi Mpahlwa said any aid to the embattled car industry which massively cut jobs on the other hand will never be acceptable to the metalworkers’ union.

“It’s not going work for the economic upliftment and the employers association cannot have it both ways – the government rescue aid and continue to be allowed on the other hand to cut jobs on the basis of its despicable reasons,” he said.

DTI and the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) and National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (Naacam) agreed in an urgent meeting last week to form a task team that will provide detailed proposals for the anticipated government aid.

The car industry’s adeptness in both playing juggling games and plead for sympathy became evident immediately after the government was forced to review the Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP).

Overwhelming fright swept through these multinational car manufacturers with some restructuring operations, outsourcing some and by implementing lay- offs and retrenchments in order to attract government attention and sympathy. The local manufactured cars, meanwhile have always been more expensive for local consumers than abroad despite government subsidies.

These unswerving efforts were only intended to cream off more profits for their mother countries when some operations were also rooted out of the country to Eastern Asian countries for the purposes of exploiting cheap labour.

Numsa stand opposed to any form of government bail out decision without involving labour because these companies started retrenchments when the local and international demand was at tits highest just to optimize profiteering competition.

With the intended government rescue package of almost R10 billion Numsa still does not believe the industry will reverse its strategy to change descent work to precarious work, including the ongoing casualisation and short-term contracts.

We demand a moratorium on retrenchments and that affected companies must first compute in detail the challenges in relation to the need for short time, lay offs and retrenchments.

The job blood bath has already seen job destruction of more than 36 000 jobs in the motor and component manufacturing sector with a further 30 000 estimated anticipated job losses in the industry if the job shedding continued unabated.

Rather than addressing on piecemeal basis, the country must declare the issue of jobs as a national disaster, above all, coupled with a national plan to protect our industries from imported cars and other goods.


For further information contact:-

Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson

Cell Phone : 082 9407116

E-mail address :