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Auto strike: 31 000 still out

2013-08-19 18:20

Siphiwe Sithole

NOT A LOT OF THIS GOING ON: About 31 000 workers in the South African auto industry are on strike over a 14% pay rise demand. Image: NIssan

JOHANNESBURG - About 31 000 Numsa-aligned workers in the automotive manufacturing industry were on strike on Monday (Aug 19) after pay talks deadlocked in July.

Automotive companies affected by the strike are BMW, Nissan, Mercedes, Volkswagen, General Motors, Toyota, UD Trucks and MAN Truck and Bus.

National Union of Metalworkers of SA chief negotiator Alex Mashilo said: “Workers in the industry demand a 14% across-the-board wage increase but 100% if the employer instituted a short-term or temporary lay-off.”


Mashilo said the “short-term or temporary lay-off” applied when logistical problems in the supply of components occurred and workers were given notice to go home.

During this time they did not receive any salary until the components reached the plant and they were called back to work, he claimed.

"Workers are tired of being sent home when the logistical system breaks down and not receiving salaries. These workers have no other employer and so they must be paid while companies have put them on short-term or temporary lay-off,” he added.

"It is not their fault that the supply of parts is not reaching the plants as it should."

The workers were also demanding a R750 housing subsidy and a weekly R125 transport allowance.

Marathon negotiations to avert the strike started in May 2013 and continued into July. However, they failed to get the two sides to agree. Since July, further talks were held, until last Monday, but these also failed to break the stalemate.


"We still remain open to the resolution of the issues that the workers have put forward to the employer. There is room for the employer to approach us regardless of the strike if we are contacted at any instance, but until then the strike will go ahead."

He said workers would welcome any innovation the employer brought forward to resolve the strike.

Automotive Manufacturers Employers' Organisation chairman Thapelo Molapo said the employers and the union had been able to narrow down their differences from when the negotiations started in May.

Molapo added: "Unfortunately we have exhausted the formal negotiations process but [this] does not mean negotiations do not have to continue until a solution is found.”

The solution was not going to come out of a strike but through negotiations.

Do you think the autoworkers have a case? Let's have your views in the Readers' Comments section below.

Read more on:    strike  |  automotive

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