Workers at Goodyear in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape province, belonging to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) have down tools and they are embarking on a protected strike as from this morning Tuesday 23 October 2012.
The workers are demanding a Relief Allowance when placed on staggered break, which has always been a standard practice or a norm within the company. The company will be placing a sizeable number of workers on a staggered break without the usual payment of the Relief Allowance to the affected workers. This has been totally rejected by our angry members!
This will be a huge set-back to these struggling workers given the socio-economic burden imposed on them by the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequalities, and escalating cost of living facing the majority of poor and working class households.
“The bosses are arrogantly taking away workers’ hard won benefits without following established rules of engagement as set-out in the Labour Relations Actions (LRA). Clearly they want to create a state of anarchy and render unions useless. We will never succumb to their union bashing tactics. They failed to liquidate us during apartheid; they will even fail under this new dispensation. We are prepared to take this battle to their backyard”, says Phumzile Nodongwe.
He also sent a stinging message to Goodyear capitalist bosses by quoting the revered and late Mozambique leader Samora Machel which says...”The rich man’s dog gets more in the way vaccination, medicine and medical care than do the workers upon whom the rich man’s wealth is built”.
Although the Relief Allowance has never been part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement settlement reached between the union and the employer, but it was willy-nilly parachuted behind the tables by the employer. The employer cannot now hastily renegade from this, without following proper channels of engagement with the workers. This Relief Allowance has been a great source of assistance or relief to the livelihoods of these workers, including their families.
We call on Goodyear bosses to open doors of engagement with the union with the sole intention of soliciting a settlement on this impasse. The failure by company to heed this call, they will feel the wrath of the striking workers until their demand is met.