SOUTH AFRICA: Bitter strike ends as most workers accept deal
South Africa's metalworkers union, NUMSA, says the majority of its striking members have accepted an 11.5% pay deal plus benefits, although it is unclear if this is the case for all workers who downed tools.
Around 31,000 workers virtually shut down production in South Africa in the bitter three-week walk-out that saw Mercedes, Benz, Volkswagen, BMW, Nissan, Toyota, Ford and General Motors affected, as well as two truck and bus companies.
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) estimates the strike saw around 3,300 vehicles lost daily, while the Automotive Employers Organisation (AMEO), says the industrial action had cost US$58m per day.
"Other workers have returned to work today," was all NUMSA chief automotive negotiator, Alex Mashilo, told just-auto from South Africa. "There were [unspecified] mechanisms put in place to address the situation at Toyota and BMW.
"It is resolved - out of seven OEMs workers at five accepted the final settlement offer. Two truck assembly companies [also] accepted the offer.
NUMSA said the deal included a 10% pay increase, which falls short of its original demand of 14%, but is nonetheless an improvement on the employers' original offer of 8%.
Further to that, a complex system of lump sum payments across the three-year deal will bump up the settlement to 11.5%, while a further R100 (US$10) per month will be made available for transport costs - one of NUMSA's key concerns.
"On housing and medical aid, the parties will constitute a special task team to investigate how to reduce cost on the workers," said Mashilo. "And how to address the lack of adequate housing - the task team will report within the year."
AMEO was not immediately available for comment, but its chairman, Thapelo Molapo, told just-auto on 6 September, the settlement package included 21 elements featuring items such as wage increases, short-time allowances and transport benefits.