18/05/2017 16:31 SAST | Updated 20/05/2017 14:29 SAST

Numsa Shocked At General Motors Exit, Say They 'Smell A Rat'

Numsa says they were consulted only after GM announced its shock departure.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa has announced it will consult its lawyers based on suspicions that "shareholders got a very good deal at the expense of workers" following General Motors' announcement it would pull its operations out of South Africa.

The union's General Secretary Irvin Jim in a press release said GM has already shut down the plant and communicated they would meet with Numsa to discuss developments but only "after the fact".

"They acted unilaterally and did not inform the union of this decision," Jim said. "We are consulting lawyers to see what legal avenue we have in resolving the crisis".

The union leader said he doubts Isuzu, the company taking over operations at GM, would "absorb all the workers at those plants". At least 1,000 workers are based at GM and the vast majority are Numsa members, Jim said.

"Now that GM has made it clear it is disinvesting in the country, we will also probe whether this is not an agenda by the car company to dump the remainder of its cars on the South African market. If they proceed with dumping, we will take up a campaign to prevent them in light of the fact that they are disinvesting in the country," Jim said.

GM's operations in other emerging markets have also been affected. The company will halt sales of its vehicles in India and instead focus on exports from that country. GM International in an earlier press release said it will "streamline its regional headquarters office in Singapore", meaning it will reduce the number of employees at its headquarters in that region.

GM South Africa manufacturing will transition to Isuzu Motors and the Chevrolet brand will be phased out of the Indian and South African market by the end of 2017.