South African union reps talk to Nissan employees - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

South African union reps talk to Nissan employees

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CANTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

More efforts are underway to form a union at the Nissan plant in Canton. A UAW meeting was held Monday evening to share their viewpoint with Nissan workers.

The president of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa or NUMSA led a chant urging unity. The foreign delegation of six met with Nissan workers in Canton.

More than 60 workers heard from the group who traveled to America to show the auto workers that they are behind efforts to form a union. They also want to hear from Nissan workers about the working conditions.

Union officials say they want to dispel rumors that Nissan will move the plant if a union is formed. 

NUMSA President Cedric Gina represents approximately 325,000 production workers in the automobile, metal and engineering sectors in South Africa.

"The stories that we've heard, the fear that is spread in the company, is really shocking, said Gina. "We don't ever think that even in countries that are known to be dictatorships those things are still happening."

"When I had to have shoulder surgery, I was put back to work in the same job that injured my shoulder," said Nissan worker James Brown. "We need to have our benefits locked down in a contract. As it is the company has frozen our pension plan."

"There's a lot of intimidation going on so the thing is we want a voice," added Rahmeel Nash, another Nissan worker. "We just want to have an election. We want everything to be fair."

We reached out to Nissan for their comments on the meeting and efforts to unionize the Canton plant. The company declined but allowed workers shared their thoughts.

"I feel like if they get a place like here in Canton, Mississippi, it would make them look good," said Nissan employee Coctina Steverson. "We don't need a union here in Canton, Mississippi. If we have a problem we can handle it within the company."

"I don't feel like we need a union because I don't want to pay somebody to go in and represent me when I can do it for myself," added Claude Potter, another employee.

The South African delegation will be in Mississippi until Wednesday.

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