A striking difference
We are more than accustomed to strikes, both in the country and within the motor industry, with these actions usually dragging along for weeks or months on end. But, for Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA), its strike went against the norm as it was quite short-lived.
MBSA confirms that workers at its East London production plant participated in an unprotected strike on Friday, May 17, affecting scheduled production.
In discussions with union shop stewards from the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa), the company established that the strike was in retaliation to MBSA’s decision to investigate work stoppages in its paint shop on May 14.
Talks between company management and the union continued on Monday, May 20, resulting in Numsa officials calling for workers to return to work, with scheduled production resuming on Tuesday, May 21. “Due to this development on the part of the union, the company will not serve the union with the interdict that the courts have granted us in this matter,” states MBSA.
The company says that it has a long and proud history of a positive relationship with Numsa since the two parties entered into a Recognition Agreement in 1989. Prior to the unprotected strike on Friday, there has been no major industrial action based on labour relations at the MBSA plant for over 20 years.
“We commend Numsa leadership for the quick resolution of the issue, which curtailed the negative impact of Friday’s industrial action, and allows us to maintain investor confidence,” notes MBSA.