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Conveyor belt workers picket against payroll system

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NUMSA says it is bringing in auditors and SARS to verify payments

Photo of picketing workers
About forty employees of ContiTech picketed today for two hours outside the factory in Uitenhage demanding a separate payslip for their annual bonuses. Photo: Joseph Chirume
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About 40 employees of conveyor belt manufacturer ContiTech picketed outside the company’s Uitenhage factory on Friday to show their dissatisfaction with its payroll system that they say is deducting too much from their earnings.

The workers, affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), are calling for an independent auditor to scrutinise their salaries since 2016 when the new system first came into place.

ContiTech, a subsidiary of Continental, manufactures heavy conveyor belts for the mining industry. It employs 130 workers at its Uitenhage plant.

Machine operator Thandisizwe Dyakumeni has worked at ContiTech since 2007 and earns a weekly wage of R1,300. He said his net earnings have been less since the new payroll system was put in place. “The old system separated annual bonus, monthly wage, public holidays and overtime allowances. Bonus should be taxed on its own,” said Dyakumeni.

Lulama Mana is also a machine operator and earns R1,600 per week. “We don’t believe that we are being paid the correct amount,” said Mana. He said their net pay has been decreasing year-on-year since 2016. “The scale is going down while the cost of living is rising. This has never been explained to us.”

ContiTech human resources director, Barbara Van Heerden, said, “We have held presentations educating our employees on the issue … We also proposed to the union employees that they bring in an independent auditor to verify their claims.”

NUMSA regional secretary Mziyanda Twani said, “We are bringing in auditors and SARS to do verification of the system because our members feel they are not being paid enough.”

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TOPICS:  Labour Labour unions

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