Good Year Statement

Goodyear Statement

Numsa supports Good Year Strikers

Numsa fully supports the current strike of Good year workers who are protesting at the company’s sudden, unilateral removal of an allowance that has been paid to them over many years and has become a standard practice.

We call on all progressive communities of both Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage to stand in solidarity with these poor workers, who are simply defending what is due to them.

Numsa calls on its members to move to solidarity action

We are left with absolutely no option but to call on all our members to embark on solidarity action.

This will include workers in the Auto sector, the Tyre sector, all workers in the motor sector (in particular the component sector) and workers in the engineering sector.

We call on our members to immediately discuss the nature and form of solidarity to take. This could include an indefinite strike until this notorious decision to tamper with workers benefits is reversed.

Numsa is also calling on the workers of the world not to touch Good year Tyres; we are calling on two of our global federations , IndustriAllAll and the World Federation of Trade Unions, to mobilize workers of the world not to touch Good year tyres globally until the the current dispute in South Africa is resolved.

Numsa condemns the greed of the Good Year Bosses

We are extremely disturbed by the culture of greed that exists in some of these companies in South Africa, both in the tyre sector and the auto industry, where the bosses will stop at nothing to maximize profits; that includes open looting of benefits and conditions of workers, some of which were won during the dark days of apartheid.

Profits at Good Year are up and yet they still attack workers’ living standards as a way of reducing costs. We have looked at the recent performance of the company and noted that:

The operating profit for the company internationally has recovered from the 2008 crash and, at $1.1 billion, is higher than at any time in the last 5 years

The profit of the Good Year Business Unit to which South Africa belongs (Europe, Middle East and Africa Tire) is also, at $627 million, higher than at any time in the last 5 years

This business unit has consistently performed better than the global operation for the last 5 years, with a profit margin consistently higher

Yet, even in this environment of rising profits, Good Year decided to launch such an attack on workers by forcefully ,unilaterally and completely undemocratically taking away workers relief allowance’: this is money paid to workers who are placed on staggered break. The payment of this allowance has been a standard practice or a norm within the company.

Numsa national leadership has met and reflected on this matter and we are convinced that this is nothing but abuse of power by management. , It surprised us to discover that there is a complete new management at senior level in the company and we think maybe this is a question of a new broom sweeping clean by unilaterally attacking thebenefits and conditions of workers.

Numsa rejects such exploitation of black and African workers

Numsa leadership wants to put the record straight to all employers in the industry and to Good year senior management in particular: gone are the days when the bosses exploited black and African labour by paying them peanuts and subjecting them to sweat shop conditions ,whilst maximizing profits.

Yes, our labour will make yourprofits but workers must and will be paid a living wage. No company has the right to squeeze workers likecranberry juice, so that they sweat and toil and do hard labour and generate huge social surplus whilst the greedybosses simply take away workers benefits and conditions so that they can double their bonuses at the end of the year.

Numsa leadership want the public to know that we didn't invite this unfair brutal attack on our members’ benefits and conditions for greed. Good Year knows very well that our members, who have now been on strike for almost three days, will not be paid for being on strike, as the principle of no work no pay will be applied with impunity.

Their bonuses and the plans they have for the end of the year are being destroyed by a company they have beenconsistently loyal to, delivering quality production that is sold on the local markets and exported internationally.

Some of the very myopic CEOs of these companies, and some in senior leadership in South African companies,take workers for granted.

For instance it's only a fool who doesn't know that in this country workers, out of their poor, inadequate wages, take care of the bulk of the unemployed who are ravaged by poverty, unemployment and inequality.

So when you simply take a decision to take their money like Good Year has done, you completely mess up their lives, especially the lives of those who depend and rely on them for a plate of food.

Numsa rejects this type of arrogance where the bosses will not bother to negotiate with the union, but instead act unilaterally, using stupid inferior prerogatives with unfettered powers.

This arrogance of course reminds us of the old order; those who run South African companies have not changed – they are still managed and run by white males who are completely untransformed.

Many of them try to disguisethis by appointing a few black faces into positions in Human resources, but unfortunately the people who are there can't take decisions.

Instead, they get used to executing a whole range of backward and primitive decisions that oppress and exploit the African majority who produce quality product on the shop floor.

In many cases some of our own brothers who further the aims of these conservative white males, become worse oppressors. The brutality of the slave acting in the interests of the slave master are well known .

Numsa will follow necessary procedures to ensure that our members, who will give solidarity action to support theGood year workers, do so procedurally and are protected.

Numsa calls on management to meet to resolve the strike
Lastly Numsa calls on Good Year management to meet the union with a view to bringing an end to the current strike, caused by their provocative, anti worker and union bashing stance.

Numsa calls on its members to remain strong and united, keeping in mind that:

United we stand, divided we fall
Solidarity for ever
The union makes us strong


Irvin Jim

Numsa General Secretary -0731576384