On April 30 this year, workers at Johnson Controls’ Uitenhage Trim plant were called to a meeting by their managers.
The meeting was to inform them of the recruitment of 20 workers from the Czech Republic.
Workers were also told that these workers from Czech are coming to the plant to assist with efficiencies and help improve skills.
The Management also told workers that the Czechoslovakians will be responsible for building stock for VWSA.
Workers objected that the Czechoslovakians could not do this because since between 2006 and October 2009 many workers at the plant were retrenched.
Agreements to that effect had been signed requiring management to consider all those affected by these retrenchments when work becomes available.
Workers suggested to the management that these the Czechs should be deployed across all the sewing lines to identify shortcomings, instead of engaging in production that can be done by South Africans.
This was suggested in the context of the very high unemployment rate in South Africa, particularly in the Eastern Cape – where the current unemployment rate is at 36%.
The struggle continues
Workers have held many meetings since then, but management has made it clear to us that they are not willing to change their plans because this process will benefit them and is going to help them grow their business.
The workers resolved to lodge an urgent dispute the same Tuesday and to picket until the dispute is settled. We hope that the CCMA will speed up the resolution of the dispute because our members feel undermined.
Members have also made it clear that they are willing to fight for what they think is best for unemployed metal workers in South Africa.
Our struggle continues and the fight for our political dignity will never stop. We will fight this human trafficking up to the end.
We requested their terms and conditions for employing these Czechs, but received a letter from management stating that the terms and conditions are confidential.
We were informed that these workers will not drink water from our taps, but that management will buy bottled water for them.
Numsa News No 2 2010