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Friday, 05 July 2024 17:12

Ford Motor Company granted an interdict to halt Numsa's strike.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The labour court has issued a temporary interdict against National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) striking workers at the Ford Motor Company in Silverton, Pretoria.

The union downed tools yesterday after Ford has refused to include workers in profit sharing.

Ford Motoring Company Southern Africa approached the Labour Court to interdict the strike," the company said on Friday.

"This application was upheld, meaning any further strike action would be considered unlawful."

The union accuses the company of raking in billions of rand in profits annually and refusing to share the windfall with the workers.

Numsa's regional legal officer Vivani Shezi said it would be impossible for workers to return to work immediately, as the court order was granted while the strike had commenced. 

"We comply with the law, if the court has ordered we return to work, so be it," said Shezi.

He said the employer understands and agrees that workers can return to work on Monday.

Shezi said Numsa will be prepared to appear in court on 28 August 2024. He said they will fight tooth and nail for its members. 

Numsa president Andrew Chirwa told striking workers outside the Ford plant in Silverton that the company's CEO received a bonus of R490 million, while the company refuses to share its $25 billion profit made in 2023 with workers.

Chirwa said, the car maker served them with papers saying "workers are not entitled to profit sharing, and can only make such demands next year during new negotiation season".

In response to Numsa, Ford said that consistency in production was vital when it makes investments, and the union action that affects manufacturing also adversely affects South Africa's global competitiveness.

Meanwhile the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) said it supports the strike by members of NUMSA at Ford SA.

"COSATU stands in solidarity with the 3 000 NUMSA members who downed tools on Thursday because Ford is refusing to share profits with them, the federation said in a statement.

The vehicle maker directly employs about 5 500 people in SA, and indirectly supports around 60 000 jobs within the value chain as of 2022. NUMSA represents 3 000 of these workers and is the only union represented at the vehicle maker.