NUMSA is refusing to pay me my due - Castro Ngobese

Former spokesperson says union is in breach of settlement agreement

NUMSA fails to pay former national spokesperson Castro Ngobese

1 September 2016

Last week, Thursday, August 25, 2016, I approached the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), in relation to the non-payment by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa [Numsa] the agreed mutual settlement pay-out, reached on June 15, 2016. 

I had opted for a pay-out after Numsa's representative Mr Lucky Stanley Skosana, affirmed that my relationship with Numsa and its leadership was irreconcilable, fractured and completely broken-down, and the only sensible way out was for me to accept their settlement offer. I accepted Numsa’s settlement offer in good faith, given my unwavering loyalty and dedication to Numsa and the struggles of its members on the shop floor  in strategic sectors of the economy where the union organizes. 

The settlement agreement stated categorically that Numsa should in writing no later than June 20, 2016, accept my resignation as its senior official. Secondly, Numsa should no later than July 1, 2016, pay what is due to me. Regrettably, the union has failed to honour the agreement. I consider this action as not just a breach of the agreement but in contempt of the CCMA.

I have been left with no alternative but to approach the CCMA to enforce the settlement. This could result in the embarrassing spectacle of the Sheriff attaching the removable assets of an workers organisation for failing to honour its obligations of an employee.   

As a principled activist I have decided to break my silence and speak-out, against this ill-treatment by a union, an organisation that purports to be an upholder and defender of workers right and interests. No back-door maneuvering or dishonest tactics will persuade me to drop or sacrifice my rightful demand to be paid my settlement in full. The failure to pay-out places an ugly stain on the union’s reputation in the eyes of the labour movement. Numsa has been seen as a symbol of pride for workers, and a revered school of excellence for the trade union movement here at home and elsewhere in the world. 

No individual or worker deserves such treatment. I am appealing to the conscience of Numsa's leadership to honour the settlement and pay-up. I should not be a sacrificial lamb in their ongoing leadership battles and jostling for power as their approach their next elective National Congress, to be held in December 2016.

If Numsa continues to disregard CCMA settlement to pay-out, I will soldier on and fight until I reach the highest court in the land. I will be doing so not as a bitter being, but to seek recourse, and inspire other workers who might be facing similar dirty actions from self-serving union bosses. History will continue to absolve me. 

Once more I extend my words of gratitude and appreciation to all those who have been supportive, from the day I was wrongfully and unfairly dismissed by a union that I did not only serve with great distinction and loyalty, but I had adored for what it stands and represents. Even though its collective leadership wants to see me raiding waste bins to eat, my love for metal workers remains undiminished.

Issued by Castro Ngobese, former National Spokesperson, NUMSA, 1 September 2016