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South African metalworkers win 35% wage increase

16 September, 2016NUMSA has concluded a negotiation with car makers for a 35 per cent wage increase over three years.

IndustriALL Global Union affiliate the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) has settled a dispute with the Automobile Manufacturers Employers’ Organisation, the employer body that includes automobile manufacturers Nissan, Ford, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Renault and VW.

The agreement will see a 35 per cent wage increase spread over three years, with 10% in the first year, 8% in the second year and 8% in the third year. The agreement will also provide a 20% shift allowance, and increases in transport and housing subsidies.

NUMSA action spokesperson Patrick Craven said:

“We feel this is a good deal in the circumstances, and we’re very pleased that our members have endorsed it. In other sectors, tough negotiations are proceeding.”

NUMSA declared a dispute with the employers’ group in July. After prolonged negotiations, an agreement was reached and signed on 12 September. This is the first time in nine years that an agreement was reached in the sector without strike action. In 2013, a strike by NUMSA in both manufacturing and components caused severe disruption in the sector.

NUMSA general secretary Irvin Jim said that while negotiations went smoothly in the auto manufacturing sector, strike action was looming in the components sector, because of employers’ failure to make a meaningful offer.

NUMSA is fighting the fragmentation of bargaining councils in the sector, and is still in dispute with the Fuel Retailers Association and the Retail Motor Industry Organisation.

“We wish to inform bosses in the sectors where negotiations are going on to come to the party and make meaningful offers. We will move very swiftly from now onwards to mobilize workers to push employers in sectors still negotiating to swiftly complete the current round of negotiations,” said Irvin Jim.

Helmut Lense, IndustriALL director for the Automotive and Rubber sectors, said:

“This is a good negotiated settlement for NUMSA members in the auto manufacturing industry. Employers in related sectors need to come to the table with a meaningful offer, and end the uncertainty in the sector.”

South Africa’s growing auto manufacturing sector is an import contributor to the country’s GDP and exports.