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Business Report 9/6/00

Numsa denies it helped VWSA dismiss workers

Roy Cokayne, 9 June 2000

Pretoria - The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) had not collaborated with the management of Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA), the motor manufacturer, to dismiss 1 300 workers earlier this year, Dumisa Ntuli, a Numsa spokesman, said on Wednesday.

Ntuli was responding to allegations to this effect made by the Oil, Chemical and General Workers` Union (Ocgawu), which represents 900 of the dismissed workers, at a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) arbitration hearing into the dismissal of the workers.

The hearing was postponed recently and will reconvene on July 31.

Ntuli said Ocgawu was making false allegations.

He said Ocgawu had distributed pamphlets in the Uitenhage area stating that Numsa official John Gomomo and the ANC general secretary had supported the dismissal of the workers and the union had signed a Golf A4 contract agreement that changed work practices without workers being consulted.

``Contrary to the picture painted by Ocgawu in the CCMA hearing with misleading and unfounded allegations, the union (Numsa) did not at any stage collaborate with the management of the company (VWSA) to dismiss the 1 300 workers.

``The union wanted to protect the jobs of workers and the company not to relocate to Germany,`` he said. Ntuli said organisations like Ocgawu and the Socialist Workers Vanguard League had deceived the dismissed workers.

He said Cosatu and Numsa -national office bearers and the ANC/Cosatu/SACP alliance had tried to persuade the workers to go back to work, but the crisis committee and the Socialist Workers Vanguard League had refused the federation leadership access to address the workers on returning to their posts.

The crisis committee and league ``then organised separate meetings to deceive, vilify and demonise the leadership of the alliance. They told workers to defy the ultimatum. The workers failed to meet the ultimatum and the company then dismissed 1 300 of them,`` he said.

Ntuli said Numsa had managed to force VWSA to reinstate 150 workers and had not given up representing the other dismissed workers who had not resigned from Numsa.

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