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Legal action against AMSA to protect employees’ income

Solidarity will continue with legal action against ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) after the company refused to comply with Solidarity’s demands.

In a letter to AMSA, Solidarity demanded that the short time imposed on some of its members be abolished and that full salaries be reinstated for the employees.

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This came after AMSA introduced a 5% increase from 1 November 2020, with a further 2% in April 2021, for one category of workers, while the rest of the workers remained at 25% short time, with the prospect of a possible permanent 8% reduction in salary.

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Solidarity is currently preparing documents against ArcelorMittal and all possible avenues are being explored, including legal as well as industrial steps that can be taken against the company to stop the unfair and unjust  way in which the company is treating its staff.

“It is unacceptable for a company to grant increases to certain staff members while the working hours and salaries of others are still reduced. Since some employees have been rewarded with salary increases, it is clear that AMSA’s repressed operations have recovered, and this makes the proposal to temporarily and/or permanently reduce other employees’ salaries totally unfair,” says Willie Venter, Deputy General Secretary of Metal and Engineering at Solidarity.

According to Solidarity, the short time that had been introduced was meant to be temporary and making it permanent constitutes a unilateral change of conditions of service, which is unfair and unlawful.

AMSA also intends to reduce the salaries of certain employees by 8%, which will then be replaced by a performance bonus and annual leave – another unilateral and unlawful change.

In contrast to the reduction in salaries, AMSA CEO Kobus Verster indicated in this week that large savings have already been achieved, especially regarding the fixed costs of the company.

“AMSA did not comply with our members’ demands, even after several meetings were held recently to discuss the matter.

“We are therefore left with no choice but to continue with legal proceedings against AMSA. It is unfair to take away from one group of employees while benefiting another group, and Solidarity and its members will never accept such double standards,” Venter concluded.