Labour unrest in South Africa is set to escalate further next week, as 72,000 workers from the fuel and vehicle retail sectors will go on strike for higher pay from Monday (Sep 2). The country's leading manufacturing union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has warned about the strike, saying that its members represented at petrol stations, components, automotive retail, panel-beaters, car and spare parts, fitment workshops, truck body and trailer builders and dealerships will down tools next week in demand for “a living wage and improved conditions of employment and service”. Numsa explained that the industrial auction will come after its negotiations with the employer bodies, Fuel Retailers Association (FRA) and Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), have failed to resolve the wage impasse.
The strike at petrol stations and car dealerships will intensify the tensions in South Africa’s economy, as it is adding to the ongoing industrial auction in the car manufacturing, construction and airport sectors and also to the high probability of a strike in the gold mining sector. Up to 18,000 Numsa members in the vehicle manufacturing sector have been on strike since Aug 19 over a wage dispute, stopping production at plants owned by global car makers including BMW, Nissan, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, and General Motors. It is estimated that the auto sector strike is costing the economy about USD 60mn per day.
South Africa was rattled in the second half of last year by a widespread wave of strikes in the mining sector, which dented economic growth and led to credit rating downgrades.
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