The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa said it would challenge a labour court interdict against a strike by its members at Toyota. Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa said on Friday it would challenge a labour court interdict against a strike by its members at car manufacturer Toyota.

On Monday, thousands of workers affiliated to Numsa embarked on a legal strike at Toyota South Africa's Durban and Germiston plants after lengthy negotiations collapsed. 

The union was demanding, among others, that workers affected by floods last October should not have to pay back R10,000 borrowed from the company and that Toyota should give workers additional assistance with heath costs as they still needed to pay R300 upfront for treatment despite having medical aid cover.

Numsa's regional secretary in KwaZulu-Natal Mbuso Ngubane said the union had asked its members to return to work while it continued to engage with the company.

"On the first day of the strike it was already clear that the employer was filing papers to the labour court to interdict the strike, and this was strange,"  Ngubane said. "Our past experience shows that Toyota S.A. would always engage with the union, focusing on demands, instead of channeling its energy towards interdicting a legal strike."

"On Tuesday we defended our right to strike at the labour court in Durban. We continued to engage with the employer whilst waiting for a decision on the interdict to be handed down. Yesterday the labour court, in the person of acting Judge Sean Snyman, issued a temporary interdict against the strike action at Toyota SA."

Ngubane slammed Snyman, whom he said had made comments which went beyond the issues raised in the matter and criticized the conduct of the union.

- African News Agency (ANA)