S. African car workers’ strike ends

An eight-day strike by South African car
workers has ended with an agreement on pay.

The Automobile Manufacturers Employers
Organisation (Ameo) and the metal workers union, Numsa, signed a new wage
agreement on Friday.

The three-year deal will see workers
getting a 10% increase this year, and 9% rises during the next two years.

Numsa was asking for a 15% increase,
more than three times the country’s rate of inflation.

Ameo, whose members include local
franchise-holders of Toyota and Volkswagen, said the strike had been highly
damaging and had stopped production of some 17,000 vehicles, a loss that it
said would be difficult to recover.

A statement from Ameo said longer term
effects could also be serious: “The strike and resultant loss of volume
has caused significant reputational damage to the automobile manufacturing
industry in South Africa as a stable production location and this could have
repercussions in terms of our ability to attract future investments going
forward.”

The industry produces more than 400,000
vehicles a year, most of which is exported to neighbouring African states.

It claims to account for up to 7% of
South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP).

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