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By Tshehla Cornelius Koteli

Digital Business Writer

Court orders Numsa workers to return to work

Numsa affiliated workers are expected to return to work on Monday.

The Labour Court in Johannesburg has ruled in favour of Ford South Africa (Ford SA), forcing protesting workers affiliated with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) to go back to work.

Numsa downed tools at Ford South Africa on Thursday, 4 July due to failed negotiations talks on bonuses.

Court order amid protest

Ford SA went to the Labour Court on an urgent basis to interdict the strike by Numsa members on Thursday. The court delivered its order on Friday, the second day of the strike at Ford SA in Pretoria. The court ordered the workers to halt the strike and return to work.

Vivani Shezi, Numsa’s regional legal officer said it would be impossible for workers to return to work immediately, as the court order was granted while the strike had commenced. He told Newzroom Afrika that Numsa is an organisation established in terms of the law and they respect the law.

“We comply with the law, if the court has ordered we return to work, so be it,” said Shezi.

He said the employer understands and agrees that workers can return to work on Monday.

ALSO READ: Numsa members to strike at Ford over bonuses

Numsa to appear in court

Shezi said Numsa will be prepared to appear in court on 28 August 2024. He said they will fight tooth and nail for its members. Numsa’s legal team has been instructed that if the outcome of the case does not favour them, the court’s order will be appealed.

He said workers must respect the court order and return to work, but they will continue to talk to Ford. He said they want the company to share its profits with the workers.

‘No bonuses for workers, millions for CEO’

While addressing tens of striking workers, Numsa president Andrew Chirwa said Ford refuses to share the billions they made in profit for the year 2023 with employees, however, the CEO has received a bonus amounting to R490 million. He said the company has always made profits and they have not accumulated losses.

Negotiations fall through

On Wednesday, Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim said they decided to take it to the streets because Ford had gone mum on whether employees would receive bonuses or not. Numsa and Ford’s management met at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on 11 June 2024 to discuss a way forward, however, no agreement was reached.

Before the strike, the organisations made no action, hoping Ford would change its standpoint of not giving workers bonuses, however, nothing came to fruition. The organisation then decided to issue a strike notice to the company. Thursday was the first day of the strike.

ALSO READ: SA’s trade unions must get their act together or risk total irrelevance

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