Because of a manufacturing workers’ strike that also affected the suppliers of automotive components, US carmaker Ford decided to halt production at one of its factories in the country, while Japanese rival Toyota plans to also suspend its car output.
Seeking a 12 to 15% payment raise, 220,000 NUMSA union members have been on strike for the past two weeks. The new walkout swiftly follows a five-weeks-long walk out of the employees in the platinum industry – which has uses in certain auto components, like the catalytic converters.
“Production at our Silverton assembly plant has been temporarily suspended due to the strike,” revealed Ford’s spokeswoman Alicia Chetty.
“Toyota will close two production lines from Tuesday at our Durban plant,” added company spokeswoman Mary Willemse.
Ford’s other plants – in Pretoria and Port Elizabeth – were still functioning, with the first one affected by the shortages and the second operating normally. General Motors’ plant in the southern city of Port Elizabeth already closed last week, while Mercedes-Benz said the supply chain to its own factory is now in “critical” stress level.
The ongoing labor moves have damaged investor sentiment in Africa’s largest and most developed economy – which already suffered a first quarter contraction, in part because of the platinum strike.