Johannesburg - Talks to resolve a pay dispute in the automotive industry deadlocked on Wednesday, the Motor Industry Staff Association (Misa) said on Wednesday.
It said it had no choice but to declare a dispute.
“The offer... from the employer parties amounts to a blank rejection of our demands,” the union said in a statement containing parts of a letter it wrote to the industry's bargaining council.
“In addition, and to make the situation entirely untenable, they continue to refuse to provide any form of explanation of or justification for their current stance.”
In the letter, Misa's chief executive Hermann Köstens said the demands were reasonable and that the employers - the Retail Motor Industry and the National Automobile Dealers' Association - were not prepared to compromise.
Köstens said demands related to wages, short time, uniforms, and retrenchment remuneration.
“We want an increase for workers in all categories and not just people who earn minimum wages,” Köstens said.
Employers were offering a 7.5 percent increase on wages.
“The current offer means that if you earn above the minimum wage, then you are likely not to receive an increase,” he added.
The Misa is an affiliate of the Federation of Unions of SA and represents 32,000 workers in the automotive sector. Most of its members work in clerical, sales or technical divisions, making them skilled workers. It is also the majority union in the sector.
A strike by a different category of workers in the same industry, represented by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, continued on Wednesday morning.
The union and employers of petrol attendants and vehicle industry workers were to meet again for talks later in the day.
Workers have been on strike for over three weeks.
They are demanding an across-the-board increase of R30 an hour by 2016 on actual rates of pay in all sectors and divisions for workers earning above R6000 a month.
Employers have offered a 7.5 percent increase, which the union has rejected. - Sapa