South African auto industry employers remain confident a revised deal will be accepted by striking workers tomorrow (20 August), although a looming tyre walk-out is still possible.

Most of the country's auto manufacturing capability has been paralysed for the past week following a mass walk-out organised by the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) in protest at a wage and benefits offer.

The Automobile Manufacturers Employers Organisation (AMEO) offered a 7% increase in salary instead of NUMSA's demand of 15%, but following talks in Pretoria yesterday, has put forward a revised number although no details of any increase are available.

"A formal offer was made by the employers that is under consideration by the union," AMEO chairman Chris Thexton told just-auto from the South African capital. "They will go back to their workforces - if there is acceptance it will be formally accepted by the union leadership.

"All things equal, the return to work would be from 23 August. The offer was improved - we have got a mutually agreed embargo [on the detail] until tomorrow."

The scale of the shutdown can be gauged from the fact that Thexton conceded there had been "very little production" in the week-long strike affecting the AMEO members in Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Ford and General Motors plants.

However, Thexton noted more problems could lie ahead in the South African tyre sector, with potential industrial action slated for 30 August.

"From our point of view - should disruption transpire it could impact on auto assembly - that would undo what we have achieved," he said.