Formscaff is an engineering sector company comprising of around 30 plants across the country whose Head Office is based in KZN. Since all plants are affected by the same problem, national strike could be expected to shake-up the company to come to its senses.
“There are no ‘standards’; meaning agreed, normal ways of running a company. Around 1 500 Formscaff employees from almost 30 plants across South Africa have experienced wage abnormalities or disparities over the past five years.
In the entire different job categories there are wage disparities and branches belonging to the same company earn different rates, which is why the national dispute affects all work levels,” said Gordon Sithole, the local organiser in KwaZulu-Natal.
Numsa engineering sector co-ordinator Vusi Mabho agrees: “Workers in the same grade earn differently, and the company claims that it has negotiated in different branches though management is the same – it’s really centralised bargaining.”
The fact that the company claims to have negotiated in different branches irrespective of whether it’s true or false, emphasises that the company is managing wages wrongly.
“The issue of wage anomalies has been subjected to conciliation but is still unresolved, hence the commissioner has issued a certificate to legalise the strike”
Eighteen years after South Africa becomes a democratic country, Formscaff still does not comply with the Employment Equity Act. According to the national chairperson of Numsa at Formscaff, Mzamo Khoza, the company promotes racism, in that management is dominated by Whites, while the shop-floor is dominated by Africans. In the Kwazulu-Natal and Bloemfontein branches, there is not a single African manager.
Mzamo said that Whites and Indians are given preference in emerging opportunities and promotions, while Africans on the shop-floor are ignored despite the skill or qualification they might be having.
In some branches, Blacks, Coloureds and Indians share the same toilet, while White women have a separate toilet.
Vusi also said that the issue of transport allowance was referred for Arbitration on June 5 2012.
If managers are the brain of the company, the shop-floor workers are the feet that support the company to remain standing, and wages are the food; it would mean that if there’s not enough food, feet will crumble and the company will fall, while the brain disperses.