Johannesburg - National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) officials are set to meet motor manufacturing industry negotiators today, as the industry strike enters its fourth day and the cost in terms of lost production and wages rises.
Mphumzi Maqungo, the union’s national treasurer, confirmed yesterday that union officials would first be meeting with the shop stewards in the various plants today and would thereafter meet the employers.
Maqungo said the national strike had been successful because no production had taken place at any of the plants this week and component suppliers to the plant were subjected to short time.
Attempts to obtain comment from the Automobile Manufacturers Employers Organisation were unsuccessful.
The national strike started on Monday as unions push for higher wages and improved conditions of service.
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) indicated last week that the strike would result in lost production of about 3 000 vehicles a day valued at about R600 million. This means that the strike had resulted in the lost production of 9 000 vehicles valued at an estimated R1.8bn by yesterday.
Meanwhile, striking hourly paid workers to date have lost more than R150 million in wages and benefits.
Confidence in sales activity for new cars among vehicle dealers declined significantly to 5.6 on a 10-point scale in the third quarter of this year from 6.3 in the previous quarter, according to WesBank’s latest vehicle sales confidence indicator released yesterday.
Chris de Kock, the executive head of sales and marketing at WesBank, said this was the biggest single decline in the indicator since it was launched in September 2007.
However, De Kock doubted the strike had affected the sentiments of dealers, stressing that dealers were short-term orientated and the survey was structured to reflect the activity levels they were experiencing at that moment.
De Kock said dealers were beginning to realise that the growth rate in new car sales since the beginning of the year was not sustainable, and they were starting to see less foot traffic in their dealerships, which was affecting their confidence levels.
But he conceded that confidence among dealers about future activity levels had been tainted by the strike and concerns about access to vehicle stock.
Dealers’ confidence about activity levels in three months time slumped to 6.3 from 6.8 in April and 7.0 in January, and in six months time to 6.6 from 7.0 in both April and January.
De Kock said manufacturers had been producing more vehicles in advance of the strike, but there was not any vehicle stockpile because dealers had sold all these vehicles.
“The industry had a great sales month in July and a great first two weeks in August. WesBank does the floor plan finance for 85 percent of the industry, but the floor plan levels are normal so there is no excess stock lying in the system.
“This is why I’m predicting that the effect of the strike will be felt a lot sooner than it normally would be,” he said. - Business Report