Correspondence from East London South Africa on situation at Mercedes-Benz

Dear comrades, our situation (amid Coronavirus Pandemic) has not improved as such, there are even talks about getting back to stricter levels such as level 5, especially in our Province in the Eastern Cape where we are situated. ... We too in South Africa experience serious attacks on our jobs in the car and supplier industry. The number of jobs in the Automotive Industry in RSA (Republic of South Africa) are 66,000 jobs in the motor industry. 19,800 jobs are estimated to be about to be lost.

The number of jobs at MBSA (Mercedes-Benz South Africa) in RSA are 3,000 workers and employees presently.

  • There is a discussion to prioritise sending off ill health employees and workers as part of retrenchment package. There are talks to begin negotiations on the creation of severance packages.

  • Early retirement. Those that are above 55 years old are being asked to come forward and start negotiating their exit.

  • A fight for every job, for the youth who needs it the most. There is no proper plan in place on our side, please share strategies if you have any on your side.

  • There is shift changes from a 3 shift model into a 2 shift model. And over and above that in this 2 shift model workers are made to work a 10 hours shift per/each shift.

  • Saturday work. Over time. Lunch. Tea breaks: The calendar has 6 Saturdays to work at an overtime rate. Tea breaks are back as a results of a 10 hours shift, 15 minutes Tea Break and 30 minutes Lunch,

  • Temporary Workforce: We had temporary workers who have been working in our Body shop and Assembly shop who were finishing a 12 months period working with the company. Who at the beginning of September had to be taken in, this is in line with the new Labour Law in the country.

  • Trade Union work and role on these: At national level NUMSA, an equivalent of IG Metall, are calling for a National debate on JOBS losses and the continuing unemployment which is presently at 29% according to NUMSAs National Committee.

  • Digitization of Work and Production processes: In the same statement NUMSA has noted the negative effects of excessive introduction of Robots and advanced technologies in the areas of production and service rendering. This has contributed a lot in Jobs' destruction.

  • The COVID19 pandemic the true effects and manipulated effects: In our local newspaper, the Daily Dispatch, a news headline about a closure of one of the big companies in East London says “DEFY weighs the option of leaving East London''. This company produces Washing machines, Microwaves, Fridges etc, their closure in East London will result in 400 JOBS loss in the city of East London. This means 400 families losing income and a breadwinner. And this is all because of losses made during the COVID19 PANDEMIC.

             Warm regards


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