Mass dismissal of NUMSA members by Qwa Qwa Wire Products (Pty) Ltd

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (NUMSA), Sedibeng region, is confronted with the mass dismissal of 109 employees from a company called Qwa Qwa Wire Products (Pty) Ltd, situated in Vanderbijlpark.
The workers went out on strike due to frustrations and consistent Verwoedian apartheid rules that management has been subjecting them to over the years of employment with the company.
Matters came to head when white employees mocked black workers, insulted them and consistently said they will forever earn peanuts because they are stupid. This fuelled tensions, particularly when workers realized that over the past six years, the employer has been applying for exemptions not to pay according to MEIBC minimum rates.
While these exemptions have been granted, only blacks were subjected to underpayments while their white counterparts were paid accordingly. This clearly provoked workers who felt that they have had enough of been discriminated against and downed tools.
The second aspect of the workers’ grievance was to note that toilets are segregated. There are toilets reserved for whites only and blacks have their own, far from those of whites. As if that was not enough, the trade union discovered that even the parking area is segregated in terms of colour with whites having their shaded parking, while blacks’ vehicles are parked in the sun. Whites are provided fridges and heaters, while these are denied blacks.
From the workshop, training is reserved for whites only, with blacks offered training on how to drive forklifts and other minor training that have no value to improve the capacity of black workers.
We put these to management and their response was that they will investigate and come back to us but the next day (Wednesday) they took a decision to dismiss all workers. Management went further saying these should have been brought to their attention prior workers taking to the street in protest. They failed to confirm that while Numsa members and all other black workers were subjected to underpayment, their white counterparts were enjoying correct rates of pay.
The region is challenging these dismissals, and will even report this employer to the Human Rights Commission to investigate the violation of the dignity of blacks and the consistent undermining of the rights of workers and the insults that our members had to undergo in the hands of cruel and heartless management of Qwa Qwa Wire Products (Pty) Ltd.
Issued by: Mokete Makoko: Regional Secretary: Cell: 083 297 8784.