Home Economy News S.African engineering union rejects new wage offer, strike continues

S.African engineering union rejects new wage offer, strike continues

Economy46 minutes ago (Oct 14, 2021 07:07AM ET)

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) hold placards as they gather ahead of an indefinite strike, threatening to choke supplies of parts to make new cars and accessories, in Johannesburg, South Africa, October 5

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) -South Africa’s biggest engineering union has rejected a new wage offer as a strike that has already hit output at carmaker BMW enters its second week, employer body SEIFSA said on Thursday.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), which has around 155,000 members in the sector, has been on strike since Oct. 5 to press for higher wages, an action that could hit supplies of parts for new cars and accessories.

Luxury car maker BMW said on Monday it lost production of around 700 vehicles at its main assembly plant in South Africa when a number of suppliers were affected.

Lucio Trentini, chief executive at industry body Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA), said the two sides failed to reach agreement following talks with union officials on Wednesday evening.

“We will regroup this morning and plot the way forward. The revised and improved offer has been rejected,” he said of a new proposal NUMSA sent to its members last week.

NUMSA was due to hold a media briefing at 1400 GMT, a union spokeswoman said. A smaller union, the Metal and Electrical Workers Union of South Africa (MEWUSA), told Reuters that its 16,000 members in the sector had also joined picket lines.

The protected strike was launched after wage talks hit a deadlock and arbitration failed, with NUMSA demanding an 8% across-the-board wage rise in the first year, and inflation plus 2% for the second and third years.

SEIFSA had offered 4.4% for 2021, inflation plus 0.5% in 2022 and inflation plus 1% in the third year.

“It is regrettable that an agreement has not been reached as yet and we expect more OEM assembly lines to be impacted if the strike continues into next week, due to lack of production in parts of the supply chain,” Renai Moothilal, executive director at the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM) said.

A spokesman for VWSA (VOWG_p.DE> said there was no impact on production, while BMW said it was “constantly monitoring” the situation for any changes.

S.African engineering union rejects new wage offer, strike continues

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