NUMSA Defeats Bridgestone SA apartheid Separatist Management Style!
28 February 2011
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), the powerful and second biggest affiliate of COSATU, welcomes the Arbitration Award handed down last week, on 22 February 2011, in a dispute between the union and motor vehicle tyre manufacturer Bridgestone South Africa (SA) (PTY) LTD. Bridgestone SA has two production operations in Brits and Port Elizabeth respectively, Headquarters in Ekurhuleni and warehousing operations in the country.
The dispute emerged when Bridgestone SA refused to implement wage increases as duly negotiated and set out in the New Tyre Manufacturing Industry Bargaining Council’s collective agreement concluded on 28 September 2010.
Bridgestone SA has since been insisting that it is not bound by wage increases but that it is bound by the other terms and conditions of employment as set out in the collective agreement.
The company also argued that the New Tyre Manufacturing Industry Employer’s Association (NTMIEA) to which it is affiliated had no authority to enter into the collective agreement in terms of the association’s internal mechanisms.
The NTMIEA has all along negotiated tyre manufacturing industry collective agreements with NUMSA at industry-level with NTMIEA representing organised employers and NUMSA representing organised workers.
These collective agreements have been binding to individual affiliates of NTMIEA inclusive of Bridgestone SA and individual members of NUMSA respectively in terms of the relevant provisions of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) on collective bargaining.
It was therefore unprecedented in the tyre manufacturing industry of Bridgestone SA to challenge the authority of NTMIEA to conclude collective agreement with organised labour.
As a result of Bridgestone SA’s apartheid separatist management style and attitude to collective bargaining, the last time workers at this company received their wage increases was on 1 July 2009. Even at this hour, on 25 February 2011, workers at Bridgestone SA did not receive their 2010 wage increases.
The Arbitration Award represents victory for workers over the shenanigans of Bridgestone SA. It spells out clearly that Bridgestone SA is bound by the Across the Board (ATB) wage increases as set out in the collective agreement concluded on 28 September 2010. Bridgestone SA must now pay workers their outstanding ATB wage increases and back-date them to 1 July 2010.
As NUMSA we reserve the right to challenge Bridgestone SA’s apartheid separatist management style and attitude to collective bargaining and on any matters of right or mutual interest.
The Arbitration Award must send a signal to other intransigent employers across the metal and related sectors in our economy that NUMSA shall not spare any capacity and capabilities to fight to the attainment of economic justice.
Castro Ngobese, National Spokesperson – 073 299 1595
Numsa Press Release