A BMW assembly plant. BMW SA said dealership "consolidation is the name of the game".Photo: Bloomberg

JOHANNESBURG, March 25 (ANA) - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said on Monday that it would continue to defend workers at BMW South Africa, and do everything in its power to defend their right to strike. 

This comes after the Labour Court granted BMW South Africa management an interdict to block Numsa members from continuing with the strike at the company's Rosslyn plant in Pretoria. 

At least 2,500 workers at BMW had downed tools and embarked on a strike earlier on Monday over the changing of terms of service. But the court interdict means that workers will now have to return to work.

Numsa said in a statement that the car manufacturing company was trying to impose a shift rotation system on workers without paying the shift allowance, which had been previously been allocated to workers. 

The union said BMW South Africa previously had fixed term contract workers who were on permanent night shift and they earned a 28 percent night shift allowance. But under the new system, Numsa said, the company was only willing to pay them 23 percent night shift allow

Jerry Morulane, Numsa regional secretary in Hlanganani, said their members went on strike because BMW South Africa unilaterally changed the terms of service.

Morulane said the car company is trying to impose a shift rotation system on workers, but they do not want to pay the shift allowance, which had been previously allocated to workers all along. 

"We will be pursuing other avenues to ensure that our members will be able to legally embark on this strike again soon. We urge BMW management to engage us meaningfully so we can resolve this amicably. 

BMW was not immediately available for comment on Monday.

African News Agency (ANA)