The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) has indicated that it will seek legal advice, as it believes that General Motor’s withdrawal from the country was used to give shareholders a “good deal”.
“This is the second time that GM is pulling out of South Africa‚ and as Numsa we smell a rat,” said general secretary, Irvin Jim, in a press statement.
“We suspect that the shareholders got a very good deal at the expense of the workers. The company has already shut down the plant and has indicated that they will meet with us to discuss the latest developments‚ but that is after the fact.”
“As a result we are consulting lawyers to see what legal avenue we have in resolving this crisis. Isuzu will be taking over operations at GM‚ but we doubt that they will absorb all the workers who used to work at those plants,” he said.
On Thursday morning General Motors indicated that it would leave the country, marking the end of the US multinational’s 13-year tenure in South Africa, which saw the introduction of the Chevrolet, Hummer and Cadillac brands as well as the production of Isuzu and a number of Opel and Chevrolet products.
According to Numsa, the vast majority of GM employees were Numsa members, making the unilateral decision to leave the country without any consultation with the union “surprising”.
“There was no consultation with the union‚ and furthermore‚ the company has not divulged any details about the fate of its employees affected by this restructuring. By shutting down operations in South Africa this will have a major impact not just on GM plants‚ but for companies along the value chain as well‚” said Jim.
“Now that GM has made it clear that it is disinvesting in the country, we will also probe whether this is not an agenda by the car company to dump the remainder of its cars on the South African market.”
“If they proceed with dumping, we will take up a campaign to prevent them in light of the fact that they are disinvesting in the country. We stand with our members during this difficult time.”