09 November 2011

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) welcomes the ruling by Labour Court Judge Andre van Niekerk to dismiss the dastardly application brought by Hendrick Verwoerd inclined employer body NEASA which sought to nullify the collective bargaining Main Agreement signed by engineering industry employers ruling oligarchy and NUMSA as promulgated by Labour Relations Act.

This verdict by the Labour Court is a victory for NUMSA in general and engineering workers in particular. This buries the stinking actions and total disregard of strong unionism of the engineering sector by NEASA. Not so long ago, the very same NEASA tried to use cheap tactics to interdict our strike action and also petitioned the Ministry of Labour not to gazette the collective bargaining Main Agreement. All these actions show that NEASA is still content with retaining and reproducing the old apartheid Bantu income inequalities glorified by racist White supremacists of the old order.

We strongly believe that the application by NEASA to nullify our hard won collective bargaining agreement was an attack on our rights to collective bargaining and a political strategy to subject workers into poverty wages and squalor as envied by its political master the Democratic Alliance (DA). These actions by NEASA are not neutral, but should be regarded as a class offensive reminiscent of the old apartheid Labour relations.

The actions of NEASA are also posing a warning to the broad trade union movement on the abuse of organs of class rule, the courts, to mitigate over industrial disputes or seek to reserve what employers failed to win at the bargaining table. This clearly demonstrates that those still trapped in the old order like NEASA, are using the democratic space to foment and liquidate the advances or gains made by workers since the dawn of our 1994 democratic breakthrough. As NUMSA, we will fight any attempts by NEASA and or any other like-minded employer organisations which seek to reverse our hard won rights encoded in various pieces of legislation with the blood of our trade union martyrs such as Vuyisile Mini, Jabulile Ndlovu and Bheki Ntuli.

We want to state categorically that we will always defend workers’ interests and gains with all the necessary power at our disposal. We refuse to allow our members to suffer the same miserable and horrifying working conditions endured by Chinese workers at the hands of the newly admired big brother.

Lastly, we want to warn to warn all South African industrialists and manufacturers not to allow themselves to be fooled, cheated or hoodwinked by fly-by-nights consultants, such as the one used by NEASA to opportunistically sponsor inferior legal opinions to undermine collective Bargaining Agreements. Such consultants know nothing about the history of industrial relations in this country, they know nothing about manufacturing and there are dangerous business people concerned about their backward and primitive accumulation interests.

We hope now NEASA will focus on key strategic issues of growing our manufacturing base, defending existing and creation of new decent jobs.

NUMSA wants to offer free advice to all employers affiliated to NEASA in the interest of cost saving and future stability of the industry to dismiss Mr Gerhard Papinfus. He recklessly misled the employers in challenging the collective Bargaining Agreement for his own selfish and greedy accumulation interests.


Irvin Jim, NUMSA General Secretary – 073 157 6384