An employers body representing South African component makers says talks to resolve the crippling strike in the industry should conclude tonight (13 September) "one way or another."

The Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) is locked in negotiations with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) in Johannesburg in a bid to secure a deal to end the 11-day dispute that has seen 70,000 autoworkers walk out.

Details surrounding the sticking points remain unclear but NUMSA has asked for a 15% wage increase, improvement in severance pay and six months mmaternity leave.

"We have had one plenary session and we are formulating our response to what they said," RMI CEO Jeff Osborne told just-auto from Johannesburg.

"The [arbitration] commissioner is not available tomorrow so the reality is we will have to wrap up something tornight one way or another. So it is probably going to be a long night."

The RMI chief also said only GM out of the OEMs was operating. "They [others] have come to a grinding halt," he said, adding: "They are very anxious to see this thing resolved."

The dispute appears also to have spread to South Africa's forecourts where RMI says violence and intimidation have occurred.

To that end, the body has secured a Labour Court interdiction setting out strict picketing rules to eliminate any threats of violence, although NUMSA refutes claims there has been any aggression.

"We have now secured a Court order which is an interdict spelling out very clearly they [union] must now adhere to picketing rules," said Osborne. "They have to maintain a distance of 25m and may not carry any traditional weapons or anything of that sort.

"NUMSA has no choice - it is an order of the Court - we need to bring this to a closure."

The NUMSA president Cedric Gina said he had hoped talks would conclude by "end of business today," but added this now looked unlikely. He also disputed RMI claims there had been violence.

"There was a judgement our members should respect the picketing rules," Gina told just-auto [but] it is not correct there was violence."