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PORT ELIZABETH – South African motor industry bosses have doubled a wage offer to striking workers, a union said Saturday, raising hopes of a breakthrough in a crippling freeze at major car makers.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said the auto manufacturers had put forward a 10 percent pay increase.
“They have tabled a new offer of 10 per cent,” said the union’s national treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo. The union will only reveal on Monday whether all its members want to call off the strike but said the revised offer had been received favourably at several plants.
In Port Elizabeth, South Africa’s fifth largest city and referred to as the “Detroit of Africa”, workers accepted the new offer following a lengthy meeting.
General Motors workers were “happy with the new wage percentage increase, but they still have other demands,” said Maqungo.
At Ford Motors SA’s Struandale plant in Port Elizabeth, workers also accepted the offer, but said they would discuss other demands on Monday.
“We have achieved what we wanted — a double digit wage increase,” said Ford Numsa workers’ committee chairman Andile Mtulu.
Elsewhere in the country, Maqungo said workers at Nissan Diesel and at Mercedes Benz had so far accepted the new offer.
About 30,000 workers from seven car manufacturing plants downed tools on Monday demanding a 14 percent wage increase.
The strike was costing companies about $60 million a day. The Automobile Manufacturers Employers Organisation has not revealed the amount of the revised offer, but has described it as unprecedented in the industry.