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GM's SA exit raises concerns over job losses in sector

Metalworkers union Numsa says no details have yet been divulged about the fate of the employees.

The General Motors logo. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – Concerns have been raised about the number of people who will lose their jobs due to General Motors (GM) shutting down its operations in South Africa from the end of the year.

GM has been manufacturing vehicles in the country since 1926 but decided to cease operations as part of the company's plans of restructuring its international operations to improve overall financial performance.

Metalworkers union Numsa says more than 1,000 people are employed at the Chevrolet division and no details have yet been divulged about the fate of the employees.

The company’s president and managing director, Ian Nicholls, explains that this was a global decision and Isuzu will be taking over at least half of its production.

“Investment in South Africa would not provide GM with strong returns and coming out of that was the opportunity to work with our long-standing partner Isuzu and it’s great that they have decided to invest in South Africa.”

Numsa says it's consulting its lawyers to determine how it can resolve the general motors crisis saying shareholders made a deal at the expense of the workers.

The metalworker's general secretary Irvin Jim says they were not consulted about this.

“This is the second disinvestment by General Motors. In the 80s they did the same and we smell a rat. It looks like the shareholders secured a good deal with themselves and workers will be on the receiving end.”

(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)

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