At least 300 auto workers protested today outside two branches of General Motors in South Africa's Eastern Cape, the National Union of Metalworkers (NUM) said.

Regional organiser Andile Zitho told the The Times of South Africa they started protesting at midday during the lunch break and would continue each lunch break until next Monday when they were to appear in the Labour Court.

Zitho had said on Friday the union had requested the court to convene an urgent session to have General Motors SA declare at least 300 dismissals null and void, on the grounds that it did not comply with Section 189a of the Labour Relations Act.

He told the paper the act stipulated that the company must try to find meaningful ways to avoid retrenchments, and to allow fair criteria in terms of the retrenchment process.

"When we look at the type of packages the workers got, it was minimal and in no way fair. They did not engage meaningful ways," Zitho told the Times.

A court date has been set for 25 May.

GM SA has retrenched about 1,000 workers since January 2008 but Zitho stressed the court action was only related to about 300, the newspaper said.

"Until the court hearing, we will continue to strike during the lunch break."