American motor vehicle producer, Ford, have closed shop this week in South Africa, with Japanese automobile manufacturer, Toyota, apparently next in line to shut their doors temporarily this week.
General Motors (GM) are another casualty on the list, stating that the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (NUMSA) strike has created a six day production loss in their factory and as such they have had to close down their East London plant fpr a period of time in spite of efforts to mediate between the producers and the workers. The strike has resulted in a shortage of components to their production line, leading to a loss of output.
National Union of Mineworkers South Africa (Numsa), who are the majority union in the metals and engineering sector in South Africa, embarked on an indefinite wage strike on July 1. Numsa are demanding a R15000 wage, R1000 housing allowance, and the scrapping of labour brokers, to occur over a one year period, not a structured deal that will escalate over a period of five years as proposed. The union stated that they require a single year offer. A number of smaller unions have joined the strike.
Thus far, the Steel and Engineering Industry’s Federation of South Africa (Seifsa) have announced that they are willing to table an offer yielding between eight and ten percent in the first year. The National Employer’s Association of South Africa (Neasa) have put forward an offer of eight percent, subject to an agreement being made whereby new workers’ wages are lowered, firstly, and secondly that the industry is made more flexible.
Ford has had to suspend production at their Silverton plant thus far, with their Pretoria plant allegedly affected too. Their Port Elizabeth production line is apparently unaffected currently. Toyota will be halting work starting from Tuesday. “Toyota will close two production lines starting on Tuesday at our Durban plant,” Toyota spokesperson Mary Willemse said.
Currently, production at Volkswagen, BMW and Nissan is continuing as per usual, but the situation is being watched with great care to ensure the continuation of this, company officials stated on Monday.
Numsa has lowered their wage bid to ten percent in an attempt to bring an end to the strike on the engineering and metals sector in South Africa. “As a union we are willing to end the current strike with a one year agreement and a ten percent increase. It is not us who is delaying this. It is the employer,” Numsa general secretary, Irvin Jim stated on Sunday.