Numsa in talks with BMW over shutdown

By Edward West Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) met with the management of BMW SA to discuss financial compensation for employees because of the shutdown of the Rosslyn manufacturing plant on Friday for two weeks, the first South African car plant to shut down due to the coronavirus. 

Numsa Hlanganani region deputy chairperson Thabo Mogoroe said the plant was being shut down due to slower vehicle sales, caused by the spread of the coronavirus. 

All BMW plants in Europe and Rosslyn were shut down on Friday, affecting some 2500 local employees, until April 19. After the shutdown a decision would be taken, depending on the circumstances, whether to re-open or not, Mogoroe said. “We met with management (on Thursday) to discuss the details of remuneration during this period. 

The provisions of lay-off leave, which is a maximum of 10 days will kick in. Thereafter, management is proposing to use the Worktime Account, where workers would have to “pay back” those days through overtime work, which the union had rejected. 

“We have proposed that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) should be used, or that the BMW Group must contribute something to workers in order to mitigate against the hardship which workers and their families will face during this period,” said Mogoroe. 

Countries which have adopted socialist principles, like China had placed more than 50 million people on quarantine and their salaries and benefits were paid for in full. Healthcare was also free in China, “which is why they were able to ensure that everyone received the best treatment to combat the virus,” said Mogoroe. 

“So far there are no plans to compensate workers for loss in income and wages, and loss of jobs because companies will be shutting down,” he said. BMW SA could not be reached for comment late on Friday. 


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