Ford, Toyota suspend production because of Numsa strike

2014-07-14 14:36

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Ford has suspended production at one of its South African plants, and Japanese car maker Toyota plans to follow suit as the Numsa strike hits suppliers of car components.

The two-week-old strike by 220 000 Numsa members, who are seeking 12%-15% annual increases, follows on the heels of a five-month strike in the platinum sector that stunted economic growth and export earnings.

The manufacturing strike also forced General Motors to close its assembly plant in Port Elizabeth more than a week ago, despite efforts by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant to mediate between the union and employees.

“Production at our Silverton assembly plant has been temporarily suspended due to the strike,” Ford spokesperson Alicia Chetty said today, adding that its other plant in Port Elizabeth was operating normally.

Toyota said it would halt some production from tomorrow because of supply-chain problems related to the stoppage.

“Toyota will close two production lines from Tuesday at our Durban plant,” spokesperson Mary Willemse said.

Production at BMW, VW, Mercedes Benz and Nissan was normal, although company officials said today they were monitoring the situation closely.

Other companies affected are construction companies Murray & Roberts and Aveng Ltd, which are working on the construction of two major power plants for Eskom.

Numsa rejected the latest pay offer from employers in the steel and engineering sector yesterday and called on its striking members to intensify the industrial action.

Employers have offered pay rises of 10% in the first year, 9.5% in the second year and 9% in the third year.

But unions also have grievances about the role of labour brokers in the industry and do not want to be bound to a multiyear agreement, preferring a one-year deal instead.

The union and employers were due to meet today for further talks.

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