Dismissed Toyota workers reinstated after strike
The workers embarked on the strike due to unpaid incentive bonuses.
The strike action, which began in December and resumed two weeks ago, led to 2895 workers being dismissed.
Toyota South Africa Motors manager of corporate communications, Mzo Witbooi, confirmed that the unprotected strike by unionised employees affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) had ended.
Witbooi said Numsa structures had been engaged internally and externally at length to come to a resolution.
“Agreement was reached and striking employees returned to work earlier this week, with no dismissals,” Witbooi said.
Numsa national spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said the strike took place because workers had been under the impression that they met the requirement to receive a “quality bonus”. When the bonuses were not forthcoming, the workers went on strike.
“At the same time, the employer requested workers to work overtime and they agreed, provided the employer first pay the quality bonus,” she said.
Numsa said after the striking employees failed to adhere to a final written warning to return to work, which was issued via SMS, the company fired 2895 of them.
Hlubi-Majola said an agreement was reached on Monday and workers had all been reinstated and were expected to return to work this week.
Numsa rejected claims that the strike was caused by infighting within the union.
“We want to make it clear that we don’t support the fact that our members went on an unprotected strike, because they risked being dismissed, which is exactly what happened in this case,” said Hlubi-Majola.
She said the bonuses would be reviewed. She added that there was a need for a set standard that clarified the terms and conditions for workers to receive the bonuses.
“Going forward, we will be meeting with Toyota to discuss long-term stability within the company,” said Hlubi-Majola.
Numsa urged both parties to be open to engagement to prevent similar situations from spiralling out of control in future.