File photo: Rogan Ward/Reuters.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union Metalworkers of South Africa said late on Tuesday it was headed for a strike in the motor industry as talks with employers over wages and allowances remained deadlocked.

On Monday NUMSA said the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was intervening after talks with the Fuel Retailers Association of Southern Africa (FRA), the Retail Motor Industry (RMI) and National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA) broke down over a peace clause locking the union into a three-year wage deal, among other issues.

In the latest statement on Tuesday evening, the union said the negotiations with employers from the Motor Industries Bargaining Council (MIBCO) had once more collapsed because the companies remained "inflexible".

"It seems we are headed for a strike," NUMSA said.

In addition to the contentious wage deal clause, the union also wants a transport/night shift allowance for fuel station workers, arguing that the lowest paid among them cannot afford to pay for travel costs late at night or early in the morning, forcing the majority to walk to work and risk being attacked by criminals.

"At the mediation employers demanded that we drop our demands on both these issues, because they wanted only to deal with the wage demand," NUMSA said.

"They made it clear that they had no interest in addressing the working conditions of workers. They want a three-year wage agreement, with a five percent wage increase for each year. We reject this offer with the contempt it deserves."

It said if conciliation failed after another planned meeting on September 30 under the auspices of the CCMA, "then we are well within our rights to request a strike certificate, for an industry wide shut down".

- African News Agency (ANA)