NUMSA commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Russian Revolution

Looming strike in the car industry over the aghaust 6,5% wage offer.

28 June 2004, Posted in Press Releases

DATE: 28 June 2004

Johannesburg Press release – for immediate release

LOOMING STRIKE IN THE CAR INDUSTRY OVER THE AGHAUST 6,5% WAGE OFFER.

Over the weekend, the wage talks between the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the Automobile Manufacturers Employers Organisation (AMEO) failed once again to yield positive results. The employer organization slightly increased the wage offer to 6,5% across the board. The union rejected the appauling 6,5% wage offer as unacceptable because it falls below the living standards and does not appreciate the amount of economic value created by workers . The wage talks were adjourned and the parties will meet again on the 3rd and 4th July 2004. The union has revised its wage demand to 9% across the board.

The 6,5% is utterly disgusting and it does not give workers a new space to breath taking into cognizance that taxi fares have increased since last year from 13,9% to 28,6%. This will be aggravated by the recent increase in the petrol price. Food represents 21% of the average workers monthly expenditure. Therefore the 6,5% falls short and does not add value to the economic pie. The intense mobilization of workers is gaining momentum and the strike is getting closer. We remain on course that irrespective of painful dimensional circumstances, workers will push for action to win better increases.

It is unfortunate that employers continue to regurgitate old ideas. We are familiar with employers defensive crouch over low wages, workers cannot bend and will continue to demand better wage increases. Employers remain impervious to the mood of paying good salaries. The time has come for employers to take a short, hard look at their wage offer and seriously question whether they are doing justice to workers. The 6,5% wage offer does not carry any weight. The repercussions of a lower wage offer will be an object lesson to all automotive companies that they need to examine the way they value workers. Employers always deny the fact that labour productivity has increased substantially and low wages are a serious disincentive to productivity in the industry. Increased labour productivity means that workers must be paid more.

It is sad to note that the percentage of South Africans that are unemployed and living in poverty has grown in the last ten years. South Africa’s investment (gross fixed capital formation) as a percentage of gross domestic products (GDP) has been substantially lower than the aggregates for higher middle and lower income countries, since the mid-1980. Levels of investment have dropped from an average of 16% of GDP during the last decade. It is not surprising that employment creation has been unable to keep up with population growth. By paying workers better wages will increase the level of investment in the domestic market. The value of the purchasing power will increase because workers will buy goods and pay for service to stimulate local consumption. It will make sense for AMEO to invest in workers by paying a social wage that will address unemployment and poverty in the country.

Numsa”˜s Demands.

-A guaranteed wage increase of 9% percent across the board;

– 3-year wage agreement;

-Training should take place during working hours;

-100% payment of maternity leave;

-For every artisan there must be one apprentice;

-Workers working under the labour brokers should be employed permanently after 3 months;

-Any bonus should be calculated at 9%;

-Provide anti-retroviral drugs to HIVAIDS sufferers and must be given 30 days sick leave circle;

-Negotiate additional categories of workers for level 5;

-5 days per occurrence for family responsibility leave.

For more information contact Dumisa Ntuli @ (011) 689 1700 or cell 0829737282