VWSA strike update 25.2.2000


In massive show of unity workers gathered at the Jeff Masemola hall on Sunday 20.2.2000 to plan the way forward to secure the unconditional reinstatement of all dismissed workers. This was the first joint mass meeting of workers since the 3/2/2000 when about 3500 returned to work under slave conditions agreed to by Numsa officials and the VWSA management. Workers inside are forced to work under strict conditions , even being late for work could bring about instant dismissal; workers have to even ask permission to go to the toilet.

True to form, the Numsa officials signed this agreement without mandate from the workers.

On Monday 21.2 .2000 NUmsa officials again without mandate prejudiced their members rights by signing an agreement for the return to work of 135 suspended workers but also under changed conditions. Workers can be transferred to any dept, and have to obey any instruction from their supervisors. Yesterday, upon hearing about these slave conditions that none of them were party to negotiating nor had agreed to, the workers marched out.

The 1300 workers have now appointed their own lawyer, specifically on this issue to deal with their dismissal and return to work under conditions not less favourable than was existing prior to the dismissal. It is important to note that the workers have not resigned from Numsa, but have merely withdrawn their mandate from them on these specific issues.

On Friday 18.2.2000, two other leaders of the Uitenhage Crisis Committee were dismissed from their companies. It is important to note that the local chamber of business is chaired by Brian Smith of VWSA. Wilfus Ndandani, the Chair of the Crisis Committee was dismissed for alleged intimidation of a nursing sister. [Ndandani works at the Goodyear tyre company]. There were no witnesses and the company raised cases in motivation , long out of date [longer than the legal requirement of 1 year] and some which Ndandani had been found not guilty of. Myali Davids, the Crisis Committee secretary was also dismissed by National Standards after the NUmsa officials informed the company that he had not been off sick but had been at a march of the VWSA workers. The Crisis Committee has agreed to mobilise support for the 2 comrades and has demanded their immediate reinstatement as it is clear that both have been victimised because of their activities in defence of the VWSA strikers.

It is not the first time that NUmsa officials had acted in a treacherous manner. At VWSA , a full-time shopsteward had been dispatched by the union to mobilise support for the ANC in the lead up to the 1999 elections. Numsa officials spoke to the company and indicated that they did not know where he was. Luckily, through the timeous intervention of the very 13 shopstewards now on suspension, the comrade was not dismissed.

The Uitenhage Crisis Committee has called for a further joint mass meeting of those who are working and those outside for this coming Sunday 26.2.2000 to plan the way forward. In the meanwhile support for the workers is growing internationally, with the Mexican VW workers set to start solidarity with their fellow comrades in SA.

Support among the auto workers and membership of IG Metall is growing and devlopments can be followed on a daily basis on the solidarity website set up by the German Labournet at http://www.labournet.de/branchen/auto/vw/index.html#Suedafrika

The VWSA workers now have their own e-mail address but are asking that messages still be sent cc to wivl@sn.apc.org as well due to their access to the new address being limited. Their address is fmsaba@hot.co.za

S Mahomed as per mandate of the VWSA workers


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