South Africa Carmaker Talks Resume on Fourth Strike Day
South African workers at carmakers including Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) and General Motors Co. (GM) will strike for a fourth day today while employers reopen wage talks with union leaders.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa received a request from the automakers to resume negotiations, the union said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The walkout will continue while talks take place and Numsa will discuss the outcome with workers on Aug. 23, it said.
“The strike continues,” Casto Ngobese, national spokesman for Numsa, said by phone today. “The union will be meeting with company representatives this afternoon to resume negotiations. That offer will be taken to members tomorrow.”
About 30,000 workers are striking at the country’s seven main carmakers and two medium- and heavy-vehicle assemblers in Pretoria, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London, according to the union. The boycott is costing the automotive industry as much as 700 million rand ($68.4 million) per day, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa said on Aug. 16.
“We are looking for progress” at the meeting between the industry and the union, Naamsa spokesman Thapelo Molapo said by phone yesterday. He declined to comment on what the carmakers would offer to end the strike.
Employer representatives reverted to an initial proposal of an 8 percent wage increase for the first contract year after an inconclusive meeting on Aug. 19, Mphumzi Maqungo, treasurer of the Numsa, said yesterday in a phone interview.
The union, with 323,000 members across a range of industries in Africa’s biggest economy, is seeking a 14 percent annual increase in auto-worker wages, improved medical benefits and shift flexibility.
The car industry accounts for 7 percent of South Africa’s gross domestic product, according to Department of Trade and Industry estimates.
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