Moves to end Continental strike

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Numsa1 Independent Newspapers Workers from the National Union of Metalworkers of SA. File photo: Mogomotsi Magome.

Production at the Port Elizabeth manufacturing plant of Continental Tyre SA (CTSA) has been disrupted by a two-week strike by workers over weekend pay rates.

However, a resolution may be imminent, with the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) set to meet members in the plant today to discuss and obtain a mandate about a proposal by CTSA’s management.

Attie Higgs, CTSA’s human resources manager, confirmed on Friday that workers had been on strike since April 15.

“We are running skeleton production and producing about 25 percent of normal yield.”

He said CTSA supplied to all South African vehicle manufacturers but the disruption had not yet affected the supply of tyres to manufacturers.

Higgs said a five-shift arrangement had been introduced about six years ago, involving three shifts during the week and two at the weekend.

The weekend shifts were staffed by a group of workers who worked only on Saturdays and Sundays.

He said weekend workers were paid normal pay rates for the Saturday shift and time-and-a half for the Sunday shift.

They were demanding overtime rates and time-and-a-half pay for the Saturday shift and double time for Sunday.

Phumzile Nodongwe, the regional secretary for Numsa in Port Elizabeth, said on Friday that it had been engaging with CTSA since the change in the shift arrangement.

He said Numsa raised this issue at the industry centralised bargaining negotiations but it needed to be discussed at plant level.

Nodongwe said CTSA had made a proposal on Friday to change to a rotating four-shift, seven-day arrangement, which meant none of the workers in the plant would work only at weekends.

The union would meet workers at the plant today to get a mandate from them on the proposal.

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