South Africa’s biggest auto industry union has urged the government to rescue any group facing collapse. It also said that companies which benefit from bailouts must agree to protect jobs.

The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) said the government should also make incentives to the motor industry – one of the biggest in manufacturing and key for employment in SA – conditional on guaranteeing jobs.

“The state must implement urgent measures to bail out any company facing closure,” NUMSA said in a statement following a conference on job security.
“Such bailouts must however be conditional on a moratorium on retrenchments,” it said.

The union said the auto industry had already shed 40,000 jobs in South Africa and quoted industry leaders as saying another 30,000 were at risk this year.
Exports have fallen off sharply as overseas demand has weakened.
Naamsa said earlier this month that the decline in the domestic sales volumes and export sales early this year reflects the impact of low levels of domestic demand and depressed foreign demand associated with the global recession.

South Africa’s Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has also said that South Africa has already shed 36,500 jobs in the auto sector and in mining between July and February.

Davies also warned that that the vast sums of money being made available to rescue industries in advanced countries were far beyond anything that developing countries could contemplate.