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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


Ford workers persist in strike despite court order

Numsa members at Ford's Pretoria plant continue striking despite a Labour Court ruling to return to work.


National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) members continued to strike at the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) plant in Pretoria despite a ruling by the Labour Court to return to work.

Workers downed tools and started picketing at the entrance of the plant in Watloo last week Thursday.

Strike unlawful and unprotected

FMCSA spokesperson Duduzile Nxele said an interim interdict was issued in favour of FMCSA by the Labour Court last week against the workers strike at the manufacturing plant, rendering it unlawful and unprotected.

“FMCSA urges all employees to return to work ensuring Ranger production in South Africa can resume, which supports the aspirations of our workforce and the country at large. South Africa needs to be a source of stable vehicle production in the sector,” she said.

“FMCSA is committed to engaging with Numsa in good faith on the matter, on an ongoing basis. In order to do so, FMCSA requires workers to return to work allowing for the urgent and immediate resumption of production.”

ALSO READ: Court orders Numsa workers to return to work

Nxele said Ford had a longterm commitment to South Africa and had invested heavily in its operations and local employees. Regrettably, production disruptions have a profound impact on South Africa’s economy and global reputation as a place to do business.

“When making decisions about future investment, consistency of production is vital to maintaining competitiveness and an important factor when determining manufacturing locations,” she said.

Output can be caught up quickly

Economist Dawie Roodt said the biggest impact it (strike) had was not necessarily on the production, because the output can be caught up quickly.

“This impact is more on the image of South Africa. Also keep in mind that I suspect there is a bit of a political angle here because Numsa is the biggest union in South Africa and belongs to Cosatu, and with the big loss of the ANC, Cosatu is now trying to show muscle,” he said.

“Every day of production lost, the loss is eternal and will not be recovered, but I think it is South Africa’s image that suffers the most damage here.”

ALSO READ: Profit share dispute spurs Numsa picket at Ford SA

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