Volkswagen South Africa sacks 14 shop stewards for COVID safety strike

Irvin Jim General Secretary NUMSA
Irvin Jim General Secretary NUMSA
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  • The Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA) plant in Port Elizabeth has fired 14 National Metalworkers’ Unions of SA (NUMSA) Shop Stewards 
  • This move, called “union bashing” by the union, left 3,200 employees out of a workforce of 4,500 without representatives.
  • Workers were dismissed virtually three weeks ago after protesting over COVID-19 safety concerns on July 17, 2020.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said the shop stewards were dismissed for defending the right of workers to strike over unsafe working conditions at VWSA.

Jim explained that for more than two months, their members at VWSA have had their wages slashed in half, and the company has not ensured they received any of the government funding they are entitled to during the pandemic to top up wages.

Jim said: “Over and above these financial losses, workers were under siege from Volkswagon South Africa management, who openly compromised health and safety protocols, risking workers’ lives while management and office staff worked from the comfort and safety of their homes.”

Letter of solidarity to sacked NUMSA shop stewards from sacked Rossing Uranium miners in Namibia

Solidarity for the Mass Dismissed 14 Shop Stewards of Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA) and NUMSA

Comradely greetings to our brothers and sisters from NUMSA on behalf of the 9 unfairly dismissed Branch Executive Committee of Rossing Uranium Limited, we have learned with great shock and disgust of the dismissal of the 14 shop stewards at VWSA, this action is a fundamental attack on Unions and must be condemn in the strongest terms.

An injury to one is an injury to all, we strongly stand solidly with NUMSA and the 14 Shop Stewards dismissed from VWSA for representing workers rights. 

We must remain active in protecting our members, colleagues, brothers and sisters from groups and corporations that are trying to downsize, exploit and disadvantage the workers. We must stand together to support the team, be part of the team and it is utmost important that all our union brothers and sisters understand the meaning of solidarity, think of solidarity as all of our working families and our future families standing in unity for the protection of all working families as workers we share the dream of a world that is based on freedom; justice; equality; and fairness.

We are also faced with a lot of challenges as we were unprocedurally and unlawfully dismissed from Rossing Uranium Limited because of being part of the MUN branch executive committee. The management had no right to dismiss us and they claim we acted as union executives but they dismissed us in our individual capacity by plotting and forming special relations with our regional leaders and the general secretary of Mine Workers Union of Namibia. 

We were dismissed on the 29th September 2020 and up to date the Mine Workers Union of Namibia did nothing to challenge or condemn the company’s actions, this is very sad that the organization you represent sacrifices you for individual gains.

We call on all the comrades globally to stand in solidarity with our comrades of NUMSA (in particularly the 14 dismissed shop stewards) defending the rights of workers by fighting against exploitation, dictatorship, victimization, discrimination, union busting and lets’ decry all employers that violates workers rights and abuse their power globally.

Our own Branch Executive Committee is in solidarity with the Namibian fishermen who after a 5-year struggle have emerged victorious and retained their employment. We are also in solidarity with dockworkers at Walvisbaai Harbour who have been illegally dismissed and all the striking Shoprite and Checkers employees in Namibia. 

WE ARE ONE COMRADES.

The Union will always advocate for fairness, equal treatment and justice for all.

Regards,

The 9 unfairly dismissed Branch Executive
Committee membersof Rossing Uranium Limited