Dear Cdes

below is the update which shows that VWSA claims they have a mandate from Germany to dismiss the workers. Can cdes please take this up?
In case of a long fight, the workers have indicated that they need to look at a legal angle as well. This just emphasises the urgent need for fundraising.

yours in solidarity
Shaheed Mahomed

3000 job seekers crowd VWSA gates

PORT ELIZABETH -- About 3000 anxious job seekers crowded the gates to Volkswagen's Uitenhage plant yesterday in the hope of filling vacancies left in the wake of the dismissal of 1300 workers who embarked on a wildcat strike.

While the axed workers and a further 150 suspended employees now face an uncertain future, VWSA announced yesterday that production was back on track with the introduction of re-arranged schedules.

The motor manufacturer has already set the wheels in motion to replace the dismissed workers as soon as possible to meet its production commitments locally and overseas. The illegal strike started on January 21 when about 300 VWSA workers began to protest at disciplinary measures taken by the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) against 13 shop stewards.

Numsa yesterday held a meeting with VWSA management in Port Elizabeth to discuss the fate of the fired workers whose leader, Wilfus Ndandani, has called for the intervention of an independent mediator.

Yesterday, job application forms were distributed among long queues of people at the Uitenhage plant with many of the job seekers becoming agitated and impatient as they tried to push past each other to get their hands on the forms. The crowd was made up of all race groups, including some whites, and there was a significant number of women applicants.

Some distance away, outside the nearby Goodyear plant, about 500 of the sacked Volkswagen workers stood, looking sombre, in a separate group holding colourful umbrellas to provide protection from the sun.

They were addressed by Ndandani, the chairman of the dismissed strikers' Uitenhage Workers Crisis Committee, who is currently under suspension at Goodyear where he is employed.

VWSA communications executive Matt Gennrich said yesterday production was once again running normally at the plant following the reorganising of production schedules. "Application forms were handed to about 3000 people who obviously have an interest in working here," he said.

Using its established data bank of job candidates, VWSA is busy processing all new applications and will begin screening prospective employees soon. "The processing of these applications is already under way and we hope to start employing people as soon as possible," Gennrich said. Keen to get the two-week old crisis behind it, VWSA has wasted no time in normalising production while maximising output to ensure customers locally and abroad are kept happy.

One of the priorities is maintaining its export order to Europe which was threatened by the strike. -- DDC



THE National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa is due to negotiate with Volkswagen South Africa management to reinstate 1 300 workers dismissed last week after an illegal strike at the Uitenhage plant. VWSA, who issued an ultimatum to workers to return to work or face dismissal, on Thursday fired 1 300 employees for not heeding to the ultimatum to return to work. Workers downed tools on January 20 in protest against Numsa's decision to suspend 13 shop stewards accused of bringing the union into disrepute.

Volkswagen management, union meet over dismissals Sibusiso Bubesi

VOLKSWAGEN management and officials from the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) met yesterday to discuss the possible reinstatement of 1300 dismissed workers at the VW Uitenhage plant. The two parties refused to comment on the outcome of their meeting yesterday but said discussions would continue this week.

Numsa president Mthuthuzeli Tom said it was not going to be easy to convince the management to rehire the workers because "they have been mandated by the parent company in Germany to dismiss those who failed to respond to the ultimatum".

The management had given the striking workers until Thursday last week to return to work or face dismissal, after a two-week wildcat strike over the suspension of 13 shop stewards. Tom said of the 150 workers which the company had suspended, 100 had approached the union for representation at internal disciplinary hearings to start soon. "The company is accusing them of furthering acts of intimidation, damage to company property and assault during the strike. We will be addressing those who have been dismissed in an attempt to seek a mandate to represent them for reinstatement," said Tom. However, he said, the crisis committee which spearheaded the illegal strike was the obstacle in trying to talk to dismissed workers. "People who sit in that committee are not our members (and) neither (are they) employees of Volkswagen," he said. Tom said the committee misled the workers and must now answer to families of those people who lost their jobs.

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