CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa’s biggest union for the manufacturing sector, NUMSA, plans to launch a national strike in the auto industry from August 19 after wage negotiations deadlocked, a senior union official said on Wednesday.
More than 31,000 workers are expected to down tools in Africa’s largest car manufacturing country, which also is a major exporter of automobiles.
The strike is expected to hit manufacturers including Toyota and Ford, Alex Mashilo, chief negotiator in the auto sector for the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), told Reuters.
“The national executive committee will formalize the strike notice tomorrow for the start of a national strike on Monday,” Mashilo said, adding the labor action will continue until a wage settlement is reached.
Africa’s largest economy has been hit by a wave of strikes that have rocked the crucial mining sector and dented investor confidence.
In a separate strike, more than 2,000 workers at BMW’s factory in South Africa have walked off the job over pay, the company said on Wednesday.
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s spokesman in South Africa spokesman, Guy Kilfoil, said the strike started last Thursday and was likely to lead to loss of production of nearly 1,700 3-Series sedans as of the end of Wednesday.
“All of those cars need to re-allocated to other plants around the world and obviously affects our reputation with our customers quite badly,” Kilfoil said.
Reporting by Wendell Roelf and Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Jon Herskovitz