Bridgestone South Africa lockout a “declaration of war,” says union
A lockout is reported to have begun at two Bridgestone factories in South Africa on March 22. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) states the lockout at the Brits and Port Elizabeth plants was instigated “in response to wage increases achieved by workers in September 2010” – and the union refers to the lockout as “a declaration of war.”
“Bridgestone’s lock-out of workers originates from the unresolved dispute between Bridgestone and NUMSA, relating to the “red-circle rate” increases set out in the new Tyre Manufacturing Industry Bargaining Council collective agreement of September 28, 2010,” stated NUMSA spokesperson Castro Ngobese. “The workers at Bridgestone who are ‘red-circled’ have not seen a wage increase since 2009, despite the company posting huge profits on the back of the workers’ labour.”
The union indicated it will “take further action in support of its demands.” Last year some 70,000 NUMSA members participated in strike action in before negotiating settlements with employers in September.