NUMSA commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Russian Revolution

Kwazulu employers’ inequities will not go unpunished vows NUMSA

14 May 2006, Posted in Press Releases

Fresh from last week’s countrywide mass demonstrations, Kwazulu-Natal metal and engineering employers are now braced for a major disruptive strike on Thursday by metalworkers over job shedding and alleged racism.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) in Kwazulu-Natal has singled out Mittal in Newcastle, Bell Equipment in Richards Bay and Daimler Chrysler warehouse in Pinetown, among others, as rallying centres of protest action to demand an end to reported racial practices by management, ill-treatment and sacking of union shop stewards.

And, as the final phase of COSATU’s job and poverty campaign reach its climax on Thursday this week with national strike and planned marches in Johannesburg, Pretoria Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, metalworkers in the Kwazulu region will flex their muscle to restore its dwindling membership in companies which retrenched workers through corporate restructuring strategies.

Petrus Ngcobo, Kwazulu-Natal NUMSA regional secretary yesterday decried the dismissal and suspension of the union’s local chairpersons and full- time shop stewards in Bell equipment and Mittal.

“It’s the most abominable racial practices in Bell Equipment which resulted shop stewards being dismissed because of a petition and the local chairperson to be suspended when they complained on behalf of workers that white racist supervisors who forced our members to clock out when they respond to natural calls in toilets should be disciplined,” he said.

Ngcobo also expressed concern at the five-year old ongoing restructuring at Mittal in Newcastle. The union has lost hundreds of worker and leaders in the plant as a result of the plan.

“Our union shop stewards and local chairpersons have been forced to take attractive retrenchment packages and were re-employed in the same positions as casual workers, with no benefits and were also forced to surrender union leadership roles and even memberships rights,” he said.

The union is also chagrined at the proposed removal of Daimler warehouse in Pinetown which has been outsourced to a logistics company in Johannesburg. This resulted in many workers being forced to take re-employment from the outsourcing company as contract workers and more than 220 workers facing inconveniencing transfer to Johannesburg in August, 2006.

Next Thursday’s strike was preceded by a build up action with lunch-hour protest demonstrations throughout the country to demand government intervention in ending job losses by COSATU’s 22 affiliates.

For more information contact:

Mziwakhe Hlangani, NUMSA national information officer

Cell phone 82 9407116