Motor Industry heavyweights announce important business transformation initiatives

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Two major role-players in the South African motor retail industry – the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) and the Motor Industry Staff Association (MISA) – today announced two important business transformation initiatives in the South African retail motor industry.

The two organisations that carry considerable weight in the motor retail industry (the RMI, with more than 7 500-member businesses, is the leading collective voice of the retail motor industry in South Africa, while the fast-growing and dynamic MISA, with its well over 43 000 members, is the only union that focuses exclusively on the retail motor industry) have pledged their strong commitment to address two pressing issues in the industry: creating more job opportunities for people with disabilities and achieving greater gender equality.

Equalising the gender playing field

The two organisations have agreed to work together to equalise the gender playing fields in what is still a predominantly male-dominated industry, while also attracting and retaining more people with disabilities to this important economic sector.

Issues on the agenda include redressing the inequalities of power that exist in the areas of decision-making and representation, the differences in legal status between different genders, eradicating violence against women in the industry as well as the discriminatory attitudes that still prevail, while achieving an increased participation of women in the labour market.

“No one should be subject to gender discrimination or harassment,” says Martlé Keyter, MISA’s CEO Operations.

RMI CEO, Jakkie Olivier, notes, “As the RMI, we are committed to invest more effort into ensuring gender issues are addressed in collective bargaining and promoting the equal treatment of all employees.”

The two organisations have joined forces with various industry employers and have also already enlisted and trained a team of industry representatives who will champion the two initiatives going forward.

Job creation

According to MISA’s CEO for Strategy and Development, Hermann Köstens, the motor retail industry can play a significant role in creating jobs for people living with disabilities, with a specific focus on young workers.

“With 48 000 jobs lost in South Africa in the first quarter of this year, we as an industry must step up and do whatever we can to stimulate job creation,” he notes. “One way in which to do this is to create more opportunities for people with disabilities and to retain them in our industry.”

Keyter agrees, “We would like to see employers make a mind-shift towards focusing on what people living with disabilities can contribute to the workplace, rather than focusing on what they cannot do.”

“We are strong campaigners that persons with disabilities who want to work, must be given the opportunity to do so if they possess the inherent qualities the job requires,” concludes Olivier.

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