NUMSA condemns Mercedes Benz for hypocrisy and job shedding
3 July 2018
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) condemns Mercedes Benz South Africa (MBSA) for cancelling contracts with workers. We have a plant agreement with MBSA which states that contract workers must be absorbed as full time workers after their 12-month contract comes to an end. MBSA informed nineteen contract workers last Friday that their contracts will be terminated tomorrow on the 4th of July. This group of workers are in their eleventh month of their contracts. MBSA is terminating their contracts in direct contravention of the plant agreement we have signed with them! The management of the plant has offered to extend the contracts only by 3 months, but still refuses to guarantee them permanent employment thereafter.
Furthermore, workers at the plant have had their hours drastically reduced. Short time and layoffs are being implemented while they upgrade the plant.
Last week MBSA was dominating news headlines after it announced that it was investing R10 billion into the local economy. It also claimed that the investment would result in at least 800 direct jobs being created. It seems they lied to the press because they are about to cut dozens of contract jobs tomorrow, whilst at the same time, they are also reducing working hours. We condemn them for their hypocrisy! MBSA exploited these workers for their labour and has now reneged on its promise to hire them permanently – shame on them!
We believe that there are posts to absorb all these skills, and there are vacancies which must be filled. But clearly the announcement was nothing more than false PR so that MBSA can get good ratings, when it reality, it is butchering jobs. If these workers are let go, then claims that MBSA is contributing to job creation and the growth of the local economy are false. This is why NUMSA is committed to the battle to ban labour brokers. We know that labour brokers exploit workers in the worst way by denying them living wages, and subjecting them to inhumane working conditions. We are still waiting for the Constitutional Court to give us an outcome on this matter. We are fighting so that all workers who are on contract or who are temporary employees must be permanently absorbed into the workforce.
MBSA has caused unbearable misery to workers by lowering wages and outsourcing certain job functions. NUMSA will fight this battle with MBSA until the bitter end. We will do whatever is necessary to force MBSA to adhere to the terms of the plant agreement and absorb workers permanently.
The struggle continues!
Issued by Mziyanda Twani, NUMSA Eastern Cape Regional Secretary, 3 July 2018