South African car strike ends image

Today thousands of workers in South Africa’s auto-manufacturing sector returned to work, putting an end to protests that lasted nearly three weeks.

An important industrial strike over wages, the action affected seven of the worlds major vehicle producers including Toyota, Mercedes and General Motors and ended after workers accepted a revised offer of a salary increase of 11.5% this year, and 10% for each of the next two years.

However, a new strike broke out on Monday in the motor industry, affecting component producers, service stations, panel beaters and other sub-sectors related to the industry. The strike was called by National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, which claims to have about 76,000 members in the sector and is demanding double-digit wage rises.

“We are in the same value chain so when they stop working we cannot operate,” said Thapelo Molapo, chairman of the Automobile Manufacturers’ Employers Organisation, an industry body. “They supply us with the components we put into our manufacturing process . . . If this thing goes on for any more than a week it will be affecting us badly.”

Depending on the length of that strike, it could impact negatively on the auto-manufacturers just as they seek to get back to full production. The strike that just ended involved around 30,000 workers and started on August 19 – with the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa estimating the strike to impact on the production of 3,000 vehicles per day, at a daily expense of R600m to R700m ($59m to $69m).

Via Financial Times