PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa — The Ford Struandale Engine Plant, General Motors South Africa and Volkswagen South Africa are throwing their weight behind a unique programme to boost the wellness of workers within the automotive supply chain of Africa’s largest automotive manufacturing city, Nelson Mandela Bay.
The programme, driven by the Automotive Industry Development Centre Eastern Cape (AIDC EC) and supported by the GIZ (German Development agency), aims to re-double wellness resources with a special focus on HIV&AIDS of up to 1,500 workers directly at suppliers contracted to the OEMs over a set period.
“We are excited to announce that our three Nelson Mandela Bay OEMs have partnered with the AIDC EC to take employee wellness within the automotive supply chain to a completely new level, where the workplace programmes focus has shifted from mainly focusing on HIV&AIDS and other health impacting factors, to a more holistic approach for employee well-being,” said AIDC EC Workplace Programmes manager Arnelle Heynes.
“This demonstrates the serious intent of the major automotive companies in the region to not only ensure that workers’ health programmes are world class but their commitment to the programme also acknowledges the effect that worker wellness has on productivity, profitability and in fact the competitiveness of the entire automotive supply chain.”
“As an agency of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), the AIDC EC is mandated to assist the automotive sector become more globally competitive and, in addition to technical improvement programmes, wellness programmes are key,” Heynes says.
The OEM’s will play a lead role in the programme as a “big brother” to the respective supplier companies within a cluster, where best practice and resources would be shared to optimise the value of the initiative.
Over 5,000 employees at fifteen component manufacturing suppliers to GMSA and the Ford Struandale Engine Plant were directly impacted by the programme over the past four years. Now the addition of VW and its suppliers brings wider scope and reach to the programme.
On 10 May 2013, AIDC EC and the three OEM’s invited selected suppliers to a briefing session at GMSA, where the programme offer was made available to no more than four medium sized companies for the programme period of June 2013 – December 2014.