Relief as motor-components strike ends

General Motors South Africa is “relieved” that the two-week-old strike in the motor-component industry has ended.

Several South African motor manufacturers were badly affected by the strike, which forced them to shut down production facilities due to a lack of parts.

“The company is relieved that the strike has been resolved and is hopeful that going forward, a more mature and responsible approach will be adopted by those involved in collective bargaining in this key sector of the economy,” said Chris Thexton, General Motors’ vice-president of human resources, on Wednesday.

The company confirmed that it is still running limited operations since it will take some time before component supply is normalised.

Production schedules will be reviewed to ensure that General Motors meets customer and dealer requirements, said Thexton.

The strike in the motor components industry ended on Tuesday evening, the Retail Motor Industry (RMI) said. A wage agreement between the RMI, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), the Fuel Retailers’ Association and the Motor Industry Staff Association was signed at 9.15pm in Randburg.

RMI spokesperson Jakkie Olivier said striking workers would return to work from Wednesday.

An agreement was reached on the wages and conditions of employment matters, he said. “I can confirm the wage agreement is within a range of 8,5% and 10%. It will depend on different job categories. It will also be based on the existing wage module.”

The wage agreement is a three-year deal that will expire in August 2010.

“We are looking forward to stability in the next three years,” Olivier said.

About 49 000 workers in the motor-components industry downed tools on September 12 over pay increases. Numsa demanded a 9% increase, and a minimum wage of R2 200 a month or R509 a week.

The RMI offered a raise of between 8,5% and 10% based on workers’ grading.

Numsa spokesperson Mziwakhe Hlangani was not immediately available for comment.

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