General Motors in the dock over job cuts

THE National Union of Metalworkers of SA hauled General Motors South Africa before the labour court in Johannesburg yesterday, demanding that retrenched workers be reinstated or its members would go on strike.

Numsa accuses GMSA of unlawful and illegal retrenchments and wants the company to place a moratorium on all retrenchments.

Numsa spokesperson Alex Mashilo said the company did not follow the retrenchment procedures.

In April 280 workers were retrenched and a further 130 told they are going.

Chris Thexton, GMSA vice president of human resources, argued that the company had consulted the union on the restructuring process.

"It is important to note that over many months we followed an extensive process of consultation that included the union and other employee representatives. In most instances employees have exited under a voluntary separation plan, leaving a total of 140 hourly and 48 salaried on forced retrenchments to be implemented in the April to December 2009 time frame," he said.

But Mashilo said GMSA only consulted the union on the retrenchment of 420 workers last year.

"They should have come back to us if they wanted to start retrenching again this year and now they are saying they can't engage us on retrenchments."

The court will hand down its ruling next week on Wednesday.

Mashilo said if the court did not rule in their favour, more than 1000 GMSA workers would down tools.