Numsa to take General Motors SA to labour court

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) will demand the reinstatement of General Motors SA (GMSA) workers in the labour court on Thursday.

“Numsa is demanding that GMSA must reinstate all the workers that it wrongfully retrenched since April 2009, place a moratorium on retrenchments and consult in good faith so alternatives to retrenchments can be adopted,” the union said in a statement.

It said GMSA had “destroyed over 1 300 jobs since 2007 through retrenchments and worthless separation packages”.

Numsa said GMSA had “insincerely” assured South Africans that the liquidation of its parent company in the United States would not affect local operations.

“But this company has since shut down the production lines of Hummer in Port Elizabeth and thereby forcing more retrenchments without regard to alternatives,” said Numsa.

It said it would go to the labour court in Johannesburg on Thursday to seek relief.

If this fails, the union will go on a strike that “GMSA will never forget after recovery”, it said.

GMSA announced in January that it would retrench about 700 workers, due to “market deterioration”.

In May, GMSA said it was in the process of concluding “an organisational restructuring” which started in July 2008 and which was directed at realigning its workforce in line with a lower volume market.

“This process was, and still is, subject to full consultation with affected employees and the trade unions,” GMSA’s vice-president of human resources Chris Thexton said at the time.

New car sales have plunged in South Africa amid the global financial crisis, which has seen General Motors in the United States filing for court protection from creditors under the US Bankruptcy Code.

The US government is now buying GM’s “good assets” and providing it with an additional $30-billion so it can get back on its feet.—Sapa

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