The strike by Numsa members at Delta’s Port Elizabeth plant has been suspended after the company and union representatives reached an agreement in principle on Friday.

The strike by Numsa members at Delta’s Port Elizabeth plant has been suspended after the company and union representatives reached an agreement in principle on Friday.


Numsa and Delta had been negotiating since Monday, when the union went on strike over what it said was the unfair enforcement of labour legislation relating to sick leave. Delta was open to discussion on the matter, but said at the time it was willing to defend its policy in court.


But Numsa agreed to suspend its strike on Friday – four days after the action began. Delta's corporate communications manager Denise van Huyssteen said: “We (the Port Elizabeth-based company and Numsa) have agreed in principle to commence a process to address the sick absence issue.


“A meeting has been scheduled for 7am on Monday at Delta’s Kempston Road plant to enable union officials to address the employees. The company hopes that this will be followed by a resumption of normal operations at both its Kempston Road and Struandale production facilities,” she added


“We trust that all employees will heed the call to return to work immediately following the meeting," Van Huyssteen said.


According to Delta, attendance levels at the Port Elizabeth plants averaged 40 per cent over the period. Operations continued in the parts & accessories-, toolroom and engineering divisions and there was also limited production activity.


Malangeni told CARtoday.com on Monday: "The union recognises that some of its members may abuse their sick leave benefits - stay away from work without a valid reason on Mondays or Fridays, for example - but we believe Delta should adopt a less punitive system of dealing with employees who exceed the maximum days allocated for absence".


"Employees are currently afforded 30 days of sick leave over a three-year period but the system also deals harshly with those workers who suffer from chronic illness, or symptoms relating to HIV/Aids for example, and may have legitimate reasons to be away from work for more than 30 days over the period," he added.