Dear Judy

Dear Judy

We are workers in John du Toit Motors in Lichtenburg (North West). Numsa we are in trouble. We don’t know if we still have a union because the whites they do what they can do with us.Three comrades were expelled without their benefits. Management says there is no union, “Numsa is dead!”They said the end of this month they will expel other workers. Please Numsa help us. They said no increase September 1, we didn’t get an increase.Worried workers

Dear comradesWe referred your complaint to the local. The local organiser, Mkhokheli Gcinumkhonto, sent a long response which I will summarise below.* he visited your company on September 25 to find out if you had received the increase. Your shop steward Elliot Senne told him that you are paid monthly.

You would see at the end of the month. * On October 6, your shop steward Elliot Senne phoned the Numsa office and asked for the new rates table. This was faxed the same day.* On October 8, the organiser phoned Senne to find out if he had received the new rates table.

Senne told him he had not fetched it from the manager’s office.* On October 19, the organiser visited your workplace and talked with you about problems in the Wash Bay as well as the issues raised in your letter.* The organiser explained to you about the matter of the three workers that “were expelled”.

He clarified that they were not expelled. He had defended two of them (the third said he was working on a farm and that he must proceed in his absence) on December 14 2008 at the Dispute Resolution Centre in Mafikeng.

Numsa won the case by default because the employer did not attend. He also held a meeting with management around the matter of a grievance of one worker against another person.* The organiser is now continuing to deal with the issue of your wage increase and hopes that it will be resolved very soon.

The same problem happened last year and the organiser had to report your employer to the Motor Industries Bargaining Council (Mibco). Mibco helps to regulate employers and trade unions that fall under the motor sector.

Mibco then made sure that your employer paid the 2008 increases. Now this year it looks like some workers have got the increase and others not. The organiser has also assisted some of the clerical workers who were being underpaid.

He is hoping to finalise the issue very soon.* You have also just elected a new shop steward since you were not happy with the previous shop steward’s work.

We hope your issues are now resolved and that you will support your new shop steward. Remember shop stewards cannot work on their own – they need your support!

What is the job of a shop steward?Numsa only employs 110 organisers but the Union has more than 260 000 members! It is not possible for organisers to serve each and every member.

That is why in each and every workplace Numsa members vote for shop stewards and Numsa trains these shop stewards.Numsa’s constitution (Chapter 4 (1) (d) sets out the job of the shop steward. His/her job is to:* negotiate agreements with employers about working conditions mandated to do so by members in the workplace. * maintain order and harmony amongst the members in their workplace;* recruit members;* settle disputes in their workplace;* report regularly to their Local Shop Stewards Council on any dispute or any grievances of members;* discuss decisions and policies of the Union to members in their workplace;* take up all legitimate complaints of members;* call Factory General Meetings at least once per month.

What happens if you are unhappy with your shop steward?Numsa’s constitution also says that shop stewards “must leave their position in any one or more of the following circumstances:* if they do not attend three meetings in a row of the Shop Steward Committee without sending a reasonable written excuse;* if they resign by giving a month's written notice to the Local Secretary;* if they are suspended or expelled from membership of the Union;* if they are unable to perform their duties as set out in this constitution; or* if the Local Shop Stewards Council receives a petition calling for the removal of the shop steward from office.

This petition must be signed by not less than 30% of the paid up members employed in the workplace or section of the workplace that the shop steward represents, as the case may be.

Any such petition should furnish reasons as to why the shop steward must be removed.* An investigation must precede the removal and must be conducted by Local Office Bearers.”If you are unhappy with your shop steward, talk to your organiser and see how you can follow the constitution to elect a new shop steward.

Dear JudyOn July 12 2008, I wrote to you (Numsa News) about my case.On September 16, Nthabiseng Mphirime called requiring some clarification. On September 17, I faxed two doctor’s notes and a covering letter to her.On September 18, Nthabiseng called me and referred my issue to Jabulani Motau in Numsa head office.

In December 2008 I called Motau and he said my issue would be heard at the Labour Court in March 2009.On January 20 I called Motau and asked for a case number in order to follow up since the Numsa regional office said the case would be heard in June 2008, but never was.

To my surprise Motau also said the case had not been referred to the Labour Court and that I must first sign an affidavit which he will send to the Numsa KZN region.On February 3 2009 I signed an affidavit and Motau said the case could be scheduled by June or July 2009 at the Labour Court for enforcement.The first week of July I called Motau.

He said he would be meeting with my company on July 28 and hinted that I should be there. When I called him as the day moved closer, he said there was no need for my presence.In the first week of August, I called him about the July 28 meeting progress.

He said there was nothing to report and I should wait for such time that he has something to report even if it means three years from then.Please Judy, help. I am in the dark over what is happening here. Nkosinathi Nene, Isithebe

Dear cde NeneWe acknowledge receipt of your September letter. Our national legal team is busy preparing your case.For the matter to be reviewed after you have submitted your affidavit then the whole matter will be looked at and all the heads of argument are paginated and arranged accordingly with all the heads of argument.

We empathize with you. When the matter goes to the Labour Court for review it can take a long time. We hope to get direction from the registrar of labour by December 2009 and that the set down date will be around March-May 2010. Our legal officer has to follow Labour Court rules hence the matter takes some time before it can appear before the judge. Nthabiseng Mphirime, local administrator, Jhb North local.


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