South African metalworkers union, NUMSA, says a press conference scheduled for tomorrow (6 September), has been "postponed" amid its claims employers have not budged on their offer to break the 18-day old strike crippling the country's automotive industry.

Earlier this week, NUMSA said tomorrow's media briefing would be a "special" press conference, raising hopes the damaging walk-out was on the brink of being resolved, but it now appears that process has been delayed.

"They [employers] are not altering their offer," NUMSA chief automotive negotiator, Alex Mashilo, told just-auto from South Africa. "There is no movement from them. We have postponed it [press conference].

"I have said we are not disclosing the offer to resolve the strike - we had engagements last night - we don't want to play see-saw."

NUMSA met the South African Automotive Employers Association (AMEO) in Johannesburg last night to discuss what is thought to be a 10% pay offer from employers, which, although unconfirmed, would be some improvement on the 8% originally put forward.

"What we are doing today is running further consultations with members," said Mashilo. "After these consultations we will return to the employers - we just said during or by the end of the weekend."

The press conference postponement may have something to do with the complexity of collating NUMSA members' - there are currently 31,000 staff not working - responses to the employers' offer across seven OEM and two medium and heavy-duty vehicle assembly plants in South Africa.

However, the unpredictability of any feedback timing was illustrated by the NUMSA chief negotiator also raising the possibility results could be returned later this afternoon.

NUMSA has previously demanded a 14% pay rise coupled with housing and transportation benefits, 

AMEO was not immediately available for comment.