Negotiations are due to take place tomorrow (17 August) in the South African capital of Pretoria between striking auto workers and employers' representatives AMEO (Automobile Manufacturers Employers Organisation).

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is currently on its fourth day of strike action surrounding its request for a 15% pay increase and a raft of new employee benefits.

NUMSA confirmed it was planning further walk-outs until Wednesday in a bid to raise the wages of the lowest paid workers, who, it said took home as little as R5,000 (US$689) per month.

"We will be having strike action tomorrow and Wednesday [and] will be marching to government offices in Pretoria and [subsequently] in the Eastern Cape," NUMSA national spokesman Castro Ngobese in Johannesburg told just-auto.

"Our demands are reasonable. We are for ever available to meet with them [AMEO] - but we will never run to them."

The strike action has affected seven car plants in South Africa to varying degrees, with AMEO claiming some have closed completely and others operating with up to 30% employee attendance. 

However, NUMSA said all 31,000 of its members had walked out.

AMEO conceded that some short time contract workers at point of entry level earned around R5,500, although it insisted by South African blue collar standards, this was a "relatively good" wage.

"It is the ultimate lose-lose situation from employers and unions," AMEO chairman Chris Thexton in Pretoria told just-auto.

"There is no such thing as a strike fund in South Africa - they have a complete loss of income. From an employer's point of view there is the [issue] to support the local, domestic market and half of our produciton is geared towards export markets."

South Africa is the largest car producer on the African continent and manufactures around 400,000 units per year.

NUMSA says it represents 31,000 workers all of whom are on strike. AMEO disputes the number of NUMSA members.

Earlier report here