Fired workers to ‘march until they are reinstated’

2012-10-05 00:00

DISMISSED employees of Dunlop Industrial Products in Howick marched to the company yesterday, demanding to be reinstated.

The 245 workers, who had been striking for six weeks before being dismissed, say they were unfairly fired.

Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) provincial deputy chairperson John Dlamini said the federation had taken a decision to continue marching until the workers were heard by the company.

“We will make sure that there is march after march, until the employer returns to negotiations and reinstates the workers.”

The workers, who have been on strike since August 22, first demanded a 10% raise with four weeks’ bonus pay. Dunlop offered five percent with no bonus.

The workers, represented by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), then lowered their demand to a 6,7% increase with four weeks’ bonus pay, and Dunlop responded with 5,7% and no bonus. Dunlop fired the 245 workers late last month after violent protests.

In a memorandum handed over yesterday, the workers demand that the company reverse all the dismissals, that it improve its offer to respond to their increase demands of 10% and nine percent in successive years, four weeks’ bonus pay, back pay for July, and a retrenchment package of two weeks’ pay for every year of service.

Voreshka Gosai, of Farrell INC attorneys, on behalf of Dunlop, said financial experts had agreed that the company was experiencing adverse trading conditions to the extent that it should not pay any increase whatsoever. “Despite this, the company increased its offer, which still was rejected by Numsa.”

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