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Transport strike deal ‘a long way off’

Sep 03 2010 10:10 Sapa

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Johannesburg - Negotiators worked until the early hours on Friday in an attempt to end a strike in the motor industry, but did not reach a settlement, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said.

"We still have a long way to go," said deputy general secretary Karl Cloete.

"We are nowhere near a negotiated settlement and the strike would continue indefinitely with protest marches in Durban and Rosslyn, Pretoria, where we are going to be handing over memorandums just to show our determination to continue the strike," he said.

Numsa did, however, plan to return to the negotiating table at 13:00 on Monday under a Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration process to try and find a resolution.

Most of Thursday night and Friday morning's negotiations focused on the finer points of an agreement, such as the date until when a settlement would be backdated.

Traditionally, the motor industry did not backdate pay agreements regardless of how long it took to settle, said Cloete.

Numsa wanted an agreement that a settlement would be backdated to September 1, the first day of the strike.

It has demanded that petrol pump attendants earn R20 an hour instead of the current R13 an hour, a 15% increase on actual earnings across the board, and the outlawing of labour brokers.

Employers have offered 6.6%.

The Volkswagen plant in Uitenhage has closed because of the knock-on effect of a Numsa strike in the components sector.

Workers at the plant are not on strike, but have been sent home with no pay while the factory stands idle.

Cloete said BMW had also closed a factory, but this could not be immediately confirmed.

Numsa and Retail Motor Industry (RMI) representatives would have
a "high-level" meeting over the weekend as part of ongoing talks.

The auto industry is currently recovering from an eight-day strike which had a severe impact on production levels.

RMI was not immediately available for comment.
numsa  |  strikes
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