General Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), Irvin Jim, said it was difficult to say just how significant the impact will be, when General Motors scales down its operations in South Africa.
Jim said there had been very little detail on the proposed plans, adding that there still wasn’t any clarity on just what role Isuzu would play during this period of transition. He also explained that nobody really knew what General Motors’ plans were with South Africa.
When they say they are scaling down operations, does it mean they stop selling to South Africans altogether? Is it a hard exit? And what has been planned for the workers that will likely be affected by the change? These are all questions that Jim wants to be answered, before he can make any formal pronouncements on the news.
Suffice to say, as a union leader, he is worried.
“It is difficult to say, because we should be appreciating the fact that Isuzu will be still going to continue to operate,” said Jim this week.
“They will be investing, but nobody knows what is the scope of that particular investment. It could be that at the beginning a few jobs will be created, and that’s the difficulty of shareholders who just cater for themselves, who don’t care for workers.
“We can’t answer that but we hear that around 900 workers might be affected. But that is sheer speculation,” added Jim.
“We are not on top of the accurate facts of what is taking place and what’s the significance of Isuzu coming to South Africa.
“We will, however, be following up on whether it is really true that they will not sell those products in South Africa. Because, if they will continue to dump production in South Africa, definitely, we are going to go for them. They can’t close the plant and hope that they will still continue to flood our markets with products, when they do not add value in this country.”