Kontakt oss

Telefon: 22 03 31 50
E-post: post@framtiden.no
Mariboes gate 8

Støtt arbeidet vårt

Liker du arbeidet Framtiden i våre hender gjør? Med din støtte kan vi gjøre enda mer.
Bli medlem nå!

Ja til miljørabatt!

Kutt moms på reparasjon og utleie av klær, utstyr og elektronikk!
Les mer

Vi jobber for en rettferdig verden i økologisk balanse

Jotun to improve paint factory in Southern Africa: Low wages and sloppy HES-strategy

In January the salaries at Jotun Paints South Africa were less than half the minimum wages recommended by the Chemical Workers' Industrial Union, and substantially lower than other South-African paint manufacturers. Contrary to what they do at their Norwegian factories, the South African factory does not measure air pollution emissions. Also, a company of dubious reputation is contracted to handle toxic waste from the factory.

Jotun argues that minimum wages are not mentioned in South African law, but admits that their South African factory does not comply with the company's internal standards. However, the wages are now to be raised, and other aspects of the factory to be improved.

Artikkelen er mer enn to år gammel. Ting kan ha endret seg.

In January the salaries at Jotun Paints South Africa were less than half the minimum wages recommended by the Chemical Workers' Industrial Union, and substantially lower than other South-African paint manufacturers. Contrary to what they do at their Norwegian factories, the South African factory does not measure air pollution emissions. Also, a company of dubious reputation is contracted to handle toxic waste from the factory.

Jotun argues that minimum wages are not mentioned in South African law, but admits that their South African factory does not comply with the company's internal standards. However, the wages are now to be raised, and other aspects of the factory to be improved.


By Tarjei Leer-Salvesen and Marte Rostvåg Ulltveit-Moe
Norwatch

The Jotun factory is situated in a large industrial area outside of Cape Town. Neighbour to the factory is one of the so-called 'informal settlements', one of the many slum areas in the country. A Norwegian flag flies above the factory roof, and a few metres to the back, a chimney is seen.

- Our chimney is quite high, explains managing director David Spencer, - to make sure the outlets leave our premises. Spencer also says that the air emissions are neither measured nor reported to any authorities. The reason for this, is that the paint industry in South Africa is not subject to laws concerning air pollution the way it is in Norway.

By a fence stands two rusty tanks for mixing liquids. They were left there by the previous owner, Dytone Paints, who sold the factory to Jotun in 1996. According to Spencer, these will be sold as scrap metal. And beneath the tarred open space by the entrance, Spencer explains, Jotun has buried two tanks of dissolvents. Most of the factory's waste stems from washing of production equipment, for which a great deal of dissolvents are used.

The South-African waste disposal company Waste Tech, which receives 90% of the country's toxic waste, regularly collects waste from Jotun. They charge money for collecting water based waste liquids, whereas liquids based on dissolvents are collected for free.

Waste Tech is a company of very dubious reputation in South Africa. In a recent court case, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry pointed out that there are serious environmental problems with at least five of the company's waste disposal sites. In the court case, Waste Tech was denied approval for running a new waste deposit site, as demanded by the company, according to the magazine The Environmental Justice Networker.

Low salaries
When NorWatch visited the factory the 30th of December 1997, the lowest salaries were at 900 rand per month for the five unskilled workers, and between 1000 and 2100 rand for those with higher seniority or education. Spencer explains that Jotun has chosen the salary level recommended by the South-African Paint Manufacturers' Association, where the company is soon to be a member.

Checking this with Mr Bryce of the Paint Manufacturers' Association, he provided the following information:

- Jotun Paints in Cape Town is not a member of the South African Paint Manufacturers' Association. Neither have they applied for a membership. Also, the South African Paint Manufacturers' Association does not give any advice on neither levels of salaries nor prices. We have never done that.

Chemical Workers Industrial Union (CWIU), a trade union in the COSATU (the Congress of South African Trade Unions), is also of the opinion that wages at the Jotun factory are low.
- Most companies pay between 1500 and 1600 rand for unskilled labour. CWIU demand that minimum wages for unskilled labour should be 2000 rand, says Muzi Buthelezi, secretary-general of CWIU, to NorWatch.

CWIU also mentions examples from six competing companies in South Africa, in which minimum wages range from 1800 to more than 2500 rand a month.

Getting better
After the visit to the plant in South Africa, NorWatch contacted Jotun in Norway, informing them about the wage levels at their South African subsidiary. Public relations Officer at Jotun's headcouter in Norway, Mr. Petter Christoffersen, then contacted Mr. Spencer. Spencer presented a two-year plan for a gradual increase of the wages. Christoffersen asked if there was any possibility of speeding up the process, but this seems to be too difficult, beacause of the situation of other employees in the company.

In a fax received by NorWatch after the visit, Spencer shows how unskilled workers have had their wages raised to 1300 rand per month, whereas experienced workers have a minimum wage of 1450 rand. However, this is still considerably lower than their competitors, and Jotun has so far not given any signals as to what wage levels they see as appropriate.

Jotun has equipped the entire plant with explosion-proof motors. Another important issue for Jotun, has been fire protection work at the factory. In spite of this, their Health, Environment and Safety strategy (HES) seems sloppy and incomplete. Spencer himself explains that fans for improving air circulation and cooling the production localities in the summertime, are missing. No health checks of employees are done.

- Even if the factory has not yet achieved our internal standards, implementation of this is on its way, Christoffersen assures.
 
Jotun in South Africa
Jotun Paints South Africa pty ltd is 100% owned by the Norwegian company Jotun. The factory outside of Cape Town is 12 years old, and was taken over from previous owner Daytone Paints by Jotun in 1996. Jotun has 41 employees in South Africa, of whom eight work at a sales depot in Durban. The company produces paint for ships and land based industrial constructions. They export paint to, among others, Tanzania and Mocambique, and supply paint to ships from, among others, Greece, Norway, Germany and Italy. Recently, the company has taken over Chemtech Industrial Linings, a company which supplies technical solutions for cement products.

Norwatch Newsletter 11/98