Johannesburg - Union officials representing 30,000 striking South African workers at carmakers including Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG will meet to discuss a wage offer as strikes in the construction and airline industries enter a second day.
The car producers have proposed a 10 percent annual pay increase for the next three years in an effort to end a walkout that started August 19, according to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.
About 90,000 workers in the construction industry and 600 technical staff at South African Airways downed tools yesterday.
Labour unrest is spreading in South Africa as growth slows in the continent’s biggest economy, the weakening rand raises the cost of imports and inflation breaches the 6 percent upper limit of the central bank target.
The National Union of Mineworkers, which represents 64 percent of gold mining employees, was given permission to strike by a mediator on August 21 as the disruptions threatens to engulf South Africa’s biggest mineral export industry.
“We will decide today whether we will continue,” Numsa spokesman Castro Ngobese said by mobile phone, referring to a meeting of union officials in the automotive industry.
The strike “will carry on until further notice.”
More than 50 percent of employers across the country and a “large number” of civil engineering construction sites are affected by the construction-workers strike, Annemie Cowley, manager of marketing and communications at the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors, said yesterday in an e-mail.
Members of the federation include the six biggest listed builders of the country, she said.
The rand is the worst performer among 16 currencies tracked by Bloomberg this year, declining 18 percent against the dollar.
The country will probably cut its economic growth forecast for 2013 to as low as 2 percent, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said July 19, citing mining strikes and a recession in Europe.
The NUM didn’t attend a gold wage negotiation meeting because it has reached a point of non-resolution with the companies, Secretary-General Frans Baleni said by phone yesterday.
The union will meet today and tomorrow to reach a decision with members on a possible strike, he said. - Bloomberg News