South Africa's vehicle transport workers go on strike

3,000 unionized workers press for higher wages
||Last Updated: 11/14/2013

JOHANNESBURG (REUTERS) — South African vehicle transport workers have gone on strike to press for higher wages, a union official said on Thursday, in the latest blow to an industry still reeling from crippling stoppages in August and September.

About 3,000 workers aligned to the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) are demanding annual wage increases of 12 percent over a two year period but the industry is offering 10 percent for next year and 8 percent in 2015.

Vehicle transport workers move vehicles by road to ports for export and to dealerships around the country.

The strike will affect the local distribution operations of car makers BMW, Volkswagen AG, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz while also impacting vehicle imports into South Africa.

A protracted strike in the industry will affect year end vehicle sales.

The auto industry, which accounts for 6 percent of GDP, has been hit by strikes in recent months and BMW said in October the "inherently unstable" labour situation in Africa's biggest economy had forced it to freeze expansion plans.

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