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Johannesburg - Hundreds of striking National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) members gathered in Randburg on Monday to demonstrate in support of higher wages in the motor industry.
Petrol attendants and car repair workers affiliated to the union have embarked on a nationwide strike.
The strikers wore red T-shirts emblazoned with their demands, which included a skills-based grading system and a 40-hour working week.
They sang and danced to music blaring from a sound system.
The crowd waved placards bearing slogans, such as “R6 000 minimum wages in the industry” and “Move cashiers to grade five”.
Other demands included safe working environments for pregnant staff and a total ban on labour brokers.
Earlier, Numsa spokesman Castro Ngobese said the union was embarking on marches around the country to urge employers in the sector to return to the negotiating table.
Thousands of workers, including workers at components retailers, panelbeaters, car and spare parts dealers, fitment workshops and dealerships are expected to participate in the strike and marches.
The union has demanded, among other things, a R30-an-hour across-the-board increase by 2016 on actual rates of pay in all sectors and divisions for workers earning above R6 000 a month.
Deputy general secretary Karl Cloete said last week that the industry had around 300 000 workers, of whom around 70 000 were Numsa members.
Negotiations with employers, which began at the end of May, deadlocked in July.
The Fuel Retailers' Association and the Retail Motor Industry were given 48-hours notice of the strike.
Ngobese said the workers' demands should be understood within the context of rising living and transport costs. - Sapa