Talks continue in motor-components strike

Talks to end a strike that has halted production at South Africa’s major car-manufacturing plants will continue on Saturday, Retail Motor Industry (RMI) executive director Jakkie Olivier said on Friday.

Olivier said earlier that the RMI and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) had entered into a “principled agreement” on Wednesday and that further “high-level talks” were held on Friday.

“We left each other at 3pm with Numsa promising to call us later today ... to either confirm that they accepted the deal or to make arrangements for further talks,” he said. “We are still confident that a settlement is within reach now, which could end the strike.”

Workers in the motor-components industry went on strike on September 12 over wages.

The RMI has offered a raise of between 8,5% and 10% based on workers’ grading.
Numsa is demanding a 9% increase, and a minimum wage of R2 200 a month or R509 a week.

Meanwhile, the MD of General Motors South Africa, Stevan Koch, said the company was unable to continue production of its Hummer H3 from Friday. He expressed concern about the long-term repercussions of the strike.

“This is an extremely serious issue and it is unfortunate that negotiations have not pursued a more constructive route whereby work stoppages could have been avoided,” Koch said. “It is very difficult to see how the wages and production which has been lost so far can ever be recovered.”

The company had on Tuesday suspended assembly on its Corsa Utility and Corsa Lite lines.

The strike has seen several South African motor-manufacturing plants closing their doors temporarily as parts have become unavailable. These include Volkswagen, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, Nissan and Toyota.—Sapa

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