Even though the strikes finally ended, the German automaker still considers the situation ‘inherently unstable’, and said it had no plans to undo the expansion stoppage.
After car parts manufacturers settled on a three-year wage plan with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) on Sunday, automakers announced they were hoping to return to the full production schedule within a week.
But the prolonged labor distress has had an impact on some of the companies, who now think of reconsidering how much to invest in South Africa; with BMW announcing last week it was no longer considering expanding production in the country due to the continued labor troubles.
“The fact that the strike went on for four weeks is proof-perfect that the labor environment in South Africa in inherently unstable,” said BMW spokesman Guy Kilfoil. “And that’s a perception – certainly in our parent company’s mind – that won’t change overnight, and certainly not by a strike ending that should have ended weeks ago,” he added.
NUMSA leaders have already jumped the gun and dismissed BMW’s comments on freezing expansion, contending that before any major change in the automaker’s operations, the German company would need the union’s approval. The car parts strike came just as the local automotive industry was fresh out of three weeks of industrial action by more than 30,000 workers at major automakers including BMW, Ford, Toyota and General Motors.