NUMSA commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Russian Revolution


19 February 2019, Posted in Press Releases

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa dismisses the comments made by Plastics Converters of South Africa (PCSA) CEO Johan Pieterse, on the organizations Facebook page, as the rantings of a racist bully, whose goal in life is to bring back the Apartheid system and impose it on workers in the Plastics sector. We also reject his baseless accusations about the union and its stance on the Plastics Strike.

First of all, let us be clear that we could not continue talks because the PCSA were completely inflexible. The same stubborn posture they adopted at the meeting in December, is the same stubborn attitude which we had to deal with again last week Tuesday when we met under the auspices of the CCMA for talks.

Once again, Employers in the plastics sector attempted to ram down proposals which will set workers back. NUMSA is fighting to maintain the working conditions and benefits which workers have enjoyed in the sector for decades and this is why talks broke down again last week. But we are dealing with an employer who is determined to erode those benefits in the following ways:

  1. The introduction of a Regional Dispensation: Plastic employers want to introduce wage differentials to workers who are employed outside the major towns i.e. Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.  Their proposal is that those workers must earn less 10% less than their counterparts in these 3 metro towns.
  2. They want to increase wages based on the minimum wage rate, instead of based on the actual wage that a person is earning.

Johan Pieterse should not mislead the public about his intentions. From the time PCSA was a member of the Metals and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC) it has been an obstacle in any engagements we have on wages and conditions of workers. The PCSA and its racist right wing cronies have never accepted any wage proposal, no matter how small, because they believe that African workers should be exploited and abused. The establishment of the PNF is testament to this fact. From the time the PNF has been formed its goal has been to circumvent any progressive increases for African workers in the Plastics sector, which were negotiated by the MEIBC. This is why from Day One, the PCSA tried to impose the Poverty National Minimum Wage on our members, in spite of the fact that the same workers in Plastics, are also represented in Engineering (MEIBC) and they have negotiated higher and better benefits.

Furthermore, the PCSA and its right wing racist cronies have done everything in their power to collapse collective bargaining. They have not contributed a red cent to the MEIBC because the intention is to collapse it. But they have the audacity to criticize the process. They abuse their power and dictate to other employers in order to ensure that African workers deserve peanuts. Shame on them!

From the very beginning our engagements with PCSA has been futile because their intention is to down vary conditions and to erode the benefits which workers have fought decades for. They are not interested in finding a middle ground. Their relentless pursuit of NUMSA in the courts is proof that ultimately their goal isnot to negotiate. It is to impose their racist agenda onto the industry, and to collapse the union under a burden of fruitless legal cases.

We have good reason to believe that mass retrenchments are on the cards and Pieterse confirms it in the open letter. Pieterse must not pretend that he cares about the welfare of Africans when all engagements with labour have demonstrated nothing but racist disdain and disrespect.

We will continue to defend workers against the exploitation and abuse of the PCSA. We will not rest until those workers who are threatened with lockout and disciplinary action, because of their just participation in the strike, are reinstated. We will continue to support our members, as we did in December, when we paid out R6 million rand from the strike fund to help workers survive the crippling strike. If Pieterse genuinely cared, as he claims, the strike would be over by now, because we would have found a meaningful compromise. But because we are dealing with a racist bully and tyrant, the battle continues!

Issued by Irvin Jim

NUMSA General Secretary

For more information, please contact:

Phakamile Hlubi-Majola

NUMSA National Spokesperson