Negotiators involved in attempting to broker a deal to end South Africa’s latest automotive strike say they have reduced the original “50 plus” demands to more manageable levels, but that a level of intimidation has entered the industrial dispute.

Estimates from South Africa now put the number of staff on strike in the component, petrol station, panel-beaters, car and spare parts, fitment workshops, truck body and trailer builders industries, as well as dealerships, at 100,000, with the dispute following hard on the heels of the costly automotive manufacturing employee walkout, which has only just ended.

“We have got about 160 manufacturers that fall under the bargaining council and they are all out,” Motor Industry Bargaining Council (MIBCO) convenor for components of South Africa, Mark Roberts, told just-auto.

“More than 100,000 employees are out on strike – about 60% of our workforce are out. There has been quite a lot of violence and intimidation and we are looking at [taking] to the Courts to intervene.”

Roberts added some workers were breaching picket rules, while certain deliveries were also being disrupted.

Talks have taken place this week to resolve the walkout, with further discussions due next Monday (16 September) in Johannesburg, that will now focus on the narrower list of demands.

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“We have reduced the 50 plus shopping basket items to about seven to eight core items,” said Roberts. “It is reaching manageable proportions.

“These principal issues are really causing a lot of concern. The single biggest one for us – we have historically had a peace clause that says once we have negotiated nationally that is is the end of negotiations.

“The unions are asking us to relax that clause – that is an absolute no no for the employers. You could have further industrial action, which would just be a repeat in interruptions.”

NUMSA was not immediately available for comment.