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D 21 avril 2011     H 04:58     A NUMSA     C 0 messages

Bridgestone South Africa, Japanese tire manufacturing multinational, with plants in Japan, Americas, Africa and Europe, is on the offensive to destroy the national bargaining system the union has set up to improve wages of workers, equalize wages across the industry and raise the standard of living of workers who were discriminated against for a very long time under Apartheid, denied training opportunities, prevented from occupying certain positions and paid a bare minimum.

The dispute dates back to 2010 bargaining round between Numsa and New Tyre Industry Employers Association which represents the following companies :

• Apollo Tyres South Africa (Pty) Ltd
• Bridgestone South Africa (Pty) Ltd
• Continental Tyres South Africa (Pty) Ltd
• Goodyear South Africa (Pty) Ltd

During the negotiations for the new agreement Bridgestone insisted on making separate offers which were lower than what other employers were offering. The negotiations resulted in strike lasting a month from July to August.

A settlement was reached on the 28 September 2010 which amongst other things provides the following :

Duration of the Agreement

3 year agreement
An across the board increase :
• 1st July 2010 : 9%
• 1st July 2011 : Consumer Price Index or 7.5% (whichever is the greater)
• 1st July 2012 : Consumer Price Index or 7.5% (whichever is the greater)
The agreement further provides that employees earning above the maximum wage rate of the grade will receive a total of across the board increase of an amount equal to :

9% for Year 1, 7.5% or CPI (whichever is the greater for Year 2 and Year 3) based on the minimums of their respective grades.
After the conclusion of the strike the company insisted that they were not bound by the agreement and insisted on implementing the offers they made during the negotiations. The matter went to arbitration where the company lost but the ruling included that the union and company must agree on employees earning above the minimums. The company is still refusing to grant an increase to certain employees who are ‘red circled’ (those who earn above the minimums in the industry).
Therefore NUMSA members in certain categories have not received the salary increases due them for the year 2010 while other tyre companies signatory to the industry agreement in South Africa, namely Apollo, Continental, and Goodyear, have made these increases effective.

The company has now locked out all workers and they are demanding that all workers, including the ‘red circled’ and ‘non red circled’ sign acceptance letters of their offer which is far lower than the industry’s increase.

Current minimums

The current minimum in the plant is R34.00 per hour or $4.00 (US) constituting a monthly wage of R5 032 or $718.00 as against R30 000.00 or $4 230.00 (US) they are currently paying to workers in other plants in Europe and Japan.


The company has instituted a lock-out 1 200 workers from Tuesday, 15 March 2011 in Brits and Port Elizabeth.
Bridgestone has become a Prison

The company is not only trying to drive wages down but continues to take various measures to intensify work inside the company putting immense pressures on workers resulting in health & safety problems for workers. In addition they have installed numerous cameras to monitor every activity of workers on 24 hours basis turning the workplace virtually into a prison.

Call for Support

We are calling on all workers, trade unions, social movements, political organizations to support our struggle to protect the gains we have made all over the years by calling on Bridgestone to do the following :

1) Terminate the lock-out as soon as possible

2) Abide by the national agreement reached with other employers in 2010

3) Implement the industry agreement as it is.

4) Stop intimidating and pressurizing workers to sign individual agreements with the company

5) Stop their attempts to destroy the national bargaining forum
We request protest letters to be sent to the Chief Executive Officer Bridgestone and the Human Resource Director

1. Mr. Kenji Shoda - Chief Executive Officer – Bridgestone South Africa
Tel : +27 11 923 7500
Fax : +27 11 392 4710
Email : kjashoda@bridgestone.co.za

2. Human Resource Director – Bridgestone South Africa
Tel : + 27 11 923 7500
Fax : + 27 11 392 4710
Email : alexh@bridgestone.co.za

Copies of the protest letters should be sent :

1. Hlokoza Motau – Numsa International Officer – HlokozaM@numsa.org.za

2. Menchi Motsepe – Hlanganani Numsa Regional Secretary – FrancisM@numsa.org.za

3. Alex Mashilo – Head of Collective Bargaining – alexm@numsa.org.za

4. Vusi Bikitsha – Eastern Cape Regional Secretary – VuyoB@numsa.org.za