The component industry and Numsa are deadlocked in a wage dispute which
has brought the motor industry in South Africa to a standstill.The component industry and Numsa are deadlocked in a wage dispute which
has brought the motor industry in South Africa to a standstill.content here
During recent talks in Randburg, the RMI offered an eight and a half to a ten percent increase pay based on the workers grading. The union, howver, is demanding a nine per cent wage increase, a minimum wage of R2 200 a month or R509 a week for those paid on weekly basis.
DaimlerChrysler has closed its East London plant and Volkswagen South Africa was forced to send 4 000 employees home last Thursday as a result of the component industry strike in a move that has already cost its employees over R5 Million in lost wages.The dispute between the component industry and Numsa is no closer to resolution and it is unclear as to when the component industry will return to work. Even when the workers return, it could still take at least 48 hours before a supply of critical components comes in to the Uitenhage plant. The strike, already in its second week, is costing the company 500 units per day.
Managing Director of Volkswagen South Africa, David Powels, commented:
"The component industry strike is absolutely unacceptable. It has
brought our plant in Uitenhage to a standstill. We are unable to fulfil
critical export orders to countries in the Asia Pacific region.”
"If we lose our export business contracts, we can take 36000 cars out of
our annual production plan for 2008 and beyond. This is approximately
one third of our total production. If we lose this export business, we
will then lose approximately 1500 jobs at Volkswagen of South Africa.
In addition approximately 3500 employees in the service and component
industries could lose their jobs.”
Numsa spokesperson, Mziwakhe Hlangani., claims that the talks are moving in a positive direction, but admitted that no tangible progress has actually been made.
Hlangani commented that: "We are happy with this optimistic approach but we are trying to get readjustments so that all sectors get the same benefits… we will not allow the employer to divide the bargaining council." This means the talks still have some way to go, and with every passing day the concerns of the manufacturers affected grows.
"Based on the settlements reached between Numsa, the steel, tyre and
automotive sectors, one would have thought that the component industry
and Numsa could reach a quick and amicable settlement,” said Powels. “This is clearly not the case and has now put the entire industry in South Africa into a
"Without export business”, continued Powels, ”the vehicle and component manufacturing industry in South Africa will collapse. The industry will become an
importer of fully built up vehicles and vehicle manufacturing plants
will be forced to dramatically scale down operations. This means a loss
of thousands of jobs across the country…the only winners will be the importers – imported vehicles already constitute 55 per cent of the total passenger vehicles sold in South Africa. Manufacturing plants in countries such as China and India
will increase job employment, whereas the employees in manufacturing
plants in South Africa will lose their jobs.”