Almost 600 jobs at stake in GM pullout

GMSA’s Struandale and Kempston Road staff leave the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium after yesterday’s briefing.
Picture: Eugene Coetzee

Nearly 600 jobs could be on the line as General Motors South Africa (GMSA) plans to pull out of the country and its Port Elizabeth-based operations by the end of the year.

This follows the motor manufacturer’s shock announcement on Thursday that it would be withdrawing from its domestic and East African markets and that it would not manufacture or sell Chevrolet vehicles come 2018.

“We believe it is in the best interest of our workforce to confirm that it is anticipated that approximately 589 employees will likely be affected by the proposed restructuring,” GMSA said last night.

“This number is not final and is subject to the consultation process with employees and their representative organisations.

“Therefore, GM cannot provide any further details on this point until the consultation process has been completed.”

GMSA has also started consultations with employees and labour unions in terms of Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act.

In terms of the Act, GMSA and the affected employees must embark on a process to try to reach consensus on the number of dismissals, the timing of the retrenchments and the severance packages for employees, among other issues.

National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim could not be reached for comment.

After Thursday’s announcement, Jim expressed the union’s shock at the abrupt manner in which employees had been notified and said they would consult their attorneys.

GMSA provided no additional information on the role Isuzu Motors South Africa would be playing in possibly absorbing some of its retrenchments, as the Japanese manufacturer plans to expand its operations in the country.

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