This month I would like to acknowledge all of our members and their families in KwaZulu-Natal that have been impacted by the unprecedented floods which have devastated so many parts of the province. Just as they were starting to recover from the losses experienced during the COVID-19 hard lockdowns, KwaZulu-Natal was hit by the July unrests last year, and most recently these devastating floods. It is almost impossible to quantify the cost of homes, businesses, roads, bridges as well as electricity and water infrastructure that have been damaged or destroyed. This also does not take into account the personal impact on members who have lost loved ones or homes during these turbulent times.
We are indeed living in a time of extreme uncertainty and the past two years have definitely tested our mettle, particularly our smaller businesses that do not always have the capital to make the necessary contingency plans for these unexpected disasters.
We are also feeling the knock-on effect of the pandemic when it comes to the current shortage of component parts as reported by SAMBRA this month. Notifications from several Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have advised that these supply constraints will continue for many months to come, and we appreciate that this will create additional pressure for many of our members.
This year also adds the wage and substantive negotiations to the mix, as the current collective agreement comes to an end on 31 August 2022. The first round of negotiations took place late in April with the unrealistic demands from trade unions putting even more pressure on the automotive aftermarket sector. While trade unions naturally focus on greater benefits for their members, the automotive industry should rather focus on recovering from the effects of the chaotic events with a medium- to long-term outlook for job creation and retention. Business survival in a struggling economy should be first and foremost in the minds of all industry stakeholders.
The RMI Labour Director, Jacques Viljoen, and his negotiating team will keep members informed of developments at all times, including the second round of negotiations taking place in May. As the RMI, our appeal to trade unions and all those involved with collective bargaining, is to be realistic and to acknowledge the devastating impact that COVID-19 and the subsequent events have had on the South African economy, automotive sector and society in general.
Jakkie Olivier – RMI Chief Executive Officer.
Read the May Automobil here: Automobil May 2022 (joomag.com)