Major Strike On for South Africa’s Auto Workers

Auto markets around the world have been struggling in the past few years, and right along with them, the auto production industries are car makers get less business since consumers are hanging on to their money and repairing their vehicles as opposed to purchasing new ones. South Africa has not been able to dodge the economic bullet and things are getting intense in this part of Africa as strike season hits once again. Quite near one and half million civil servants sat it out days ago to help reinforce their demand for an 8.6% raise in their wages. While this is not necessarily new for the nation, what worries many economic experts is that this could be merely a shadow of things to come because today well over 30,000 workers from the South African auto industry also went on strike. These figures come from the National Union of Metal Workers (NUMSA) that is representing the workers and asking for a 15% salary raise on their behalf. Companies affected by this strike include General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen – each of which had offered NUMSA workers a 7% raise in salary via their own organization which represents the interest of these auto companies. The general secretary of NUMSA, Irvin Jim, has told the media that this strike would carry on until a closer figure to what NUMSA requested could be offered. A double digit percentage raise is the only thing NUMSA says it would consider.

The picture of the work force in South Africa closely mirrors that of another emerging auto production market: the one in China. Earlier this year workers in China went on strike against Honda and Toyota to protest their pay saying it could not keep up with their rising costs of living.

About the Author