BMW, VW still going as strike hits GM, Ford

Members of Numsa march for better wages in Cape Town. (Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)
Members of Numsa march for better wages in Cape Town. (Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)

Cape Town - American motor company Ford said on Monday it has temporarily suspended production at one of its South African plants due to a strike at some of its suppliers.

Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) downed tools in the engineering and steel sector on July 1, demanding 12-15% annual wage increases from the employers.

"Production at our Silverton assembly plant has been temporarily suspended due to the strike," Ford spokesperson Alicia Chetty said.

Only Ford's Pretoria plant was affected and its other plant in Port Elizabeth was operating normally, Chetty said.

Japanese car-maker Toyota will also halt some production at its South African assembly plant from Tuesday.

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

The strike, which began only a week after the end of a five-month stoppage in the platinum sector, has hit companies supplying components to the automobile sector.

General Motors halted production at its assembly plant in the southern city of Port Elizabeth over a week ago because of supply chain problems related to the stoppage.

Production at BMW and VW was normal, company officials said on Monday.

Numsa rejected a 10% pay offer from employers on Sunday and called on its 220 000 striking members in the sector to intensify the industrial action.

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

The strike has damaged wider investor sentiment in the economy, which is teetering on the brink of recession after a first-quarter contraction caused in part by the platinum strike.

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