Job losses imminent with General Motors’ exit from SA

General Motors South Africa will cease operations by the end of the year. Picture: file
General Motors South Africa will cease operations by the end of the year. Picture: file

The hundreds of General Motors employees who will be retrenched by July may be hit with a double whammy.

Union leaders have warned that, with the current unemployment crisis, they may find it difficult to find jobs.

More than 1 000 people stand to lose their jobs when American car company General Motors leaves South Africa.

The company, which announced on May 18 that it would be disinvesting from South Africa, will cease its operation at the Port Elizabeth plant by the end of the year.

“Globally, GM firmly believes there are opportunities where it can achieve greater return on investment – in specific vehicle segments and markets where the outlook for growth is very strong (business adjacencies, SUVs and crossovers, US and China),” General Motors South Africa said.

Numsa acting national spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi said that the management of General Motors had met with the union on Monday, when it was confirmed that it was winding down manufacturing operations locally.

“General Motors has issued a retrenchment notice to the CCMA in terms of section 189 and section 189A of the Labour Relations Act. The company has confirmed that out of a total workforce of 1500 people, close to 600 workers are to be retrenched by July. In reality this is more likely to lead to more than 1000 job losses in the sector, particularly as the closure of GM will impact negatively on companies along the value chain,” Hlubi said.

Numsa says that it now faces a crisis as most of those who will be retrenched run the risk of not finding employment, a move which will negatively affect the economy.

“We have a crisis with more than 35% of the labour force being unemployed,” Hlubi said.

Numsa has urged all workers to attend a meeting this afternoon, where Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim and national treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo will address the workers on a plan.

Avantika Seeth
Multimedia journalist
City Press
p:+27 11 713 9001  e:
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