Numsa to meet plastic manufacturer over workers’ protracted strike

Members of The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA). Picture: Jacques Nelles

Members of The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA). Picture: Jacques Nelles

The union has accused the KZN-based firm of exploiting workers by paying low wages and using the labour brokering system.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) in KwaZulu-Natal said on Monday it would meet with the management of ITB Plastics and Isithebe Consulting Solutions (ICS) in a bid to resolve a four-week-old strike.

ICS is a labour brokering company providing services to plastics manufacturing company ITB Plastics in Mandini. Two weeks ago, the companies failed to get an interdict against the strike at the Durban labour court.

Workers at ITB Plastics, which is owned by Novus Holdings and has a total staff complement of 500 people, went on strike last month demanding a living wage and improved working conditions.

Numsa regional secretary Mbuso Ngubane accused the companies of flouting labour laws and not recognising the humanity of workers.

“They have installed cameras in the bathrooms, which is a violation of privacy. They are also exploiting workers by paying extremely low wages, while others are abused through the labour brokering system. Dozens of workers should have been made permanent long ago, but ITB is one of those companies that is deliberately flouting the labour law on this issue,” Ngubane said.

“Some companies refuse to implement the labour law because they want to be able to exploit workers indefinitely. They make huge profits when using labour brokers because they save money by paying workers slave wages.”

Numsa has been calling for a ban on labour brokers and last month scored a victory when the Constitutional Court ruled that workers placed by labour brokers at a company should automatically become permanent employees of that firm after three months.

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