The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa has given notice of intention to embark on a national strike across the South African automotive industry as of Monday 19 August 2013, following a deadlock in wage negotiations.
The strike is expected to involve over 31 000 employees nationally, affecting South Africa's seven biggest global vehicle manufacturers, being BMW, Ford, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen, and certain truck manufacturers.
The deadlock was initially reached on 19 July 2013, with subsequent attempts to reach agreement having failed. NUMSA's initial demand of a 20% increase across the board was reduced to a final offer of 14%, with CEOs offering only 10% plus R1.07 per hour for the first year, and consumer price index (CPI) inflation plus 0.25% and R1.07 per hour for each of the following two years.
NUMSA contended that company offers for the second and third years of the agreement were habitually substantially lower than the initial year, and they required that increases should at the very least be the same for the subsequent years. As a matter of principle, workers would not accept an increase less than double digits.
This was based on the fact that workers in the industry currently were unable to afford housing, as they did not qualify for low-income RDP houses or home ownership bonds from commercial lenders. Also factored into the equation were the soaring costs of transport, electricity and food prices in recent years.
Parties are expected to continue to engage throughout the strike.
Employers are reminded that this would be considered a protected strike, and that as such employees would be protected from reprisals, except where misconduct is committed throughout the process.
For any queries regarding the contemplated strike and strike processes, feel free to contact the LabourNet Helpdesk on 0861 LABNET / 0861 522 638.
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