General Motors has announced it will resume production at its Port Elizabeth plant in South Africa today following the end of a four-week strike from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, which began on July 2.
Reuters says the union, which is the nation’s largest, agreed to end the strike after accepting a wage increase from employers. GM along with Japanese automaker Toyota were forced to shut down their assembly lines in the region as many of the metalworkers in the union made parts used in their factories.
The union said workers will return to their place of employment today after accepting a 10 percent annual pay rise for three years for its lowest paid workers, higher than the current inflation rate, which currently sits at 6.6 percent.
The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA), which represents about 3,000 different employers in the metal-working sector, said it was not happy with the deal as the wage increase was too much.
“We are not happy with the (pay) deal that has been done and will lock out the striking workers from Tuesday,” NEASA spokeswoman Sya van der Walt-Potgieter told Reuters. “NEASA is not a signatory to this agreement because of the unsustainable level of the wage increase being agreed upon.”
Another employers’ association said it was happy an agreement had been reached and the work stoppage is over. The contrasting opinions on the wage deal could spark further tension in regards to employees’ wages in the country.
“(The conflicting responses could) exacerbate tensions on the ground in localized areas as some employers accept returning workers and others don’t,” said market analyst Peter Attard Montalto.