SOUTH AFRICA: Massive Pretoria march to hand in strikers' demands as impasse drags on

By Simon Warburton | 3 September 2013

South Africa's Automotive Employers Organisation (AMEO) says it is about to meet a delegation from the union leading the country's massive strike as a huge protest march converges on the capital city.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) claims 11,000 workers are marching through Pretoria to hand in what they refer to as a 'Memorandum of Demands' to AMEO, in a bid to secure their request for a 14% pay rise and associated benefits.

AMEO maintains NUMSA has accepted a package from the employers, but it appears the union has not yet been able to gauge the reaction of its members.

"There is a march now scheduled and we are here to meet with the union to receive some petitions they want to give us," AMEO chairman, Thapelo Molapo, told just-auto from Pretoria.

"We don't know what is going to transpire after. Consultation with workers did finish yesterday - I am not sure what their intentions are. We must respect the processes NUMSA follows in terms of making sure there is sufficient consultation.

"It has taken far too long."

AMEO has costed the walkout, involving up to 31,000 workers, at US$58m per day as tens of thousands of vehicles are lost to production.

Employers are also warning of the damage the strike, now in its third week, is having on South Africa's image as a manufacturing nation.

NUMSA says the march will be led by its national treasurer, Mphumzi Maqungo, to the National Association of Automobile Makers of South Africa (NAAMSA) in Pretoria.