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BMW plant in Rosslyn, South Africa

BMW’s output hit by South African metalworkers strike

The output of BMW’s main vehicle assembly plant in South Africa has been dampened by a wage strike in the engineering sector by the country’s biggest metalworkers union, the automaker’s spokesperson said on Monday.

“While our associates have been reporting for work, we have lost production since the strike commenced … as a number of suppliers to the plant have been affected,” Hailey Philander informed Reuters.

Philander said production of around 700 vehicles was lost due to the strike.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) carried out the strike last Tuesday after pay talks with employer bodies reached a deadlock, raising fears the action would spill over and obstruct supplies of parts to make new cars.

BMW’s plant is located at Rosslyn, around 60 kilometers from the commercial city of Johannesburg.

On Friday, NUMSA said its members were considering a new proposal to end the strike. On Monday, the union was still collating feedback before making a decision.

NUMSA, with around 155,000 members organized in the sector, has demanded an 8% across-the-board wage increase in the first year, and inflation plus 2% for the second and third years.

Industry body Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) had initially made offer of 4.4% for 2021, inflation plus 0.5% in 2022, and inflation plus 1% in the third year.

Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota said they were not affected by the strike as of yet.

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