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S. Africa Autoworkers to Discuss Pay Demand Amid Strike

Aug. 29 (Bloomberg) -- South African autoworkers will meet today to discuss revising pay demands as a strike that has idled plants owned by carmakers including General Motors Co. enters its 11th day.

The central committee of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa is due to meet, its spokesman Castro Ngobese said in a phone interview.

Vehicle manufacturing, accounting for about 7 percent of South Africa’s gross domestic product, has been at a standstill since Aug. 19 after about 30,000 workers downed tools to demand pay increases of more than double the inflation rate of 6.3 percent. Car manufacturers including General Motors, Toyota Motor Corp., Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Volkswagen AG collectively proposed a new offer on Aug. 22 to raise pay by 10 percent over three years.

“What has been offered isn’t even close to addressing apartheid wage disparities,” Ngobese said.

Workers in the construction and aviation industries are already on strike over pay, while unions in the gold-mining industry may begin stoppages next week if a wage settlement isn’t reached. About 72,000 motor-industry employees may go on strike on Sept. 2 after a breakdown in wage talks between Numsa and companies represented by the Fuel Retailers Association and Retail Motor Industry Organization.

About 600 technical staff at the state-owned airline, South African Airways, remain on strike, Vincent Masoga, a spokesman for the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, said by phone. The union is meeting with South African Airways management today, he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Brand in Cape Town at rbrand9@bloomberg.net; Andre Janse van Vuuren in Johannesburg at ajansevanvuu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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