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Lesotho union takes Adient Automotive to labour tribunal for union busting

D 16 juin 2024     H 05:30     A IndustriALL Global Union     C 0 messages

The Independent Democratic Union of Lesotho (IDUL) is taking vehicle seat manufacturing Adient Automotive to the Directorate of Dispute Prevention and Resolution (DDRP) – the kingdom’s labour tribunal – for union busting and violating trade union rights to collective bargaining.

Adient Automotive supplies car seats to BMW, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, and Volkswagen factories in South Africa. Of the 1,000 workers employed at Adient Automotive in Maseru, 800 are members of IndustriALL affiliate IDUL.

According to IDUL, the dispute began when Adient Automotive started ignoring the recognition agreement that it signed with the union in 2015. According to the law, a union must organize more than 50 per cent of the workers at a factory for it to sign a recognition agreement with the employer. The agreement gives the union the right to negotiate terms and conditions of employment on behalf of its members and to engage in collective bargaining with the employer.

However, the union says Adient Automotive flouted labour laws and breached the contract when it stopped deducting the union dues and remitting them to the union as per labour laws. Further, the union argues that the company’s actions are meant to frustrate workers. To stop the unfair labour practices from continuing, IDUL has raised objections and taken Adient Automotive to the DDRP.

May Rathakane, IDUL general secretary, says :

“We raised our concerns in meetings with the local management who told us that the decision to ignore the agreement was made in the US where the senior management is based. We are challenging the decision because it does not comply with Lesotho’s labour laws.”

Says Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa :

“Multinational companies must respect national labour laws and international labour standards, especially on freedom of association. Trade union rights to organize and collective bargaining must be upheld, and we expect Adient Automotive to respect the rights of the workers of Lesotho and to stop the union bashing and other anti-union activities.”

Adient Automotive, is a subsidiary of Adient Engineering, listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company employs over 70,000 workers at manufacturing plants in 30 countries. Adient Engineering is a spin-off from its parent company, Johnson Controls, which issued shares to create the new company in 2016 and manufactures frames, seat mechanisms, foam, head restraints, arm rests, trim covers, and other vehicle seat accessories.