JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Sept. 6, 2001)—Unionized workers at South Africa's tire and rubber companies will "continue indefinitely" a two-week-old strike after workers rejected a revised wage offer from employers.
“Based on their (tire makers') uncompromising stance, the strike action will be protracted,'' the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) said in a statement. “The longer the strike, the more damage to the relationships and productivity levels."
The union, which says it represents 6,000 tire and rubber industry workers, is demanding a 10-percent salary increase—compared with a 7.5-percent raise offered by an industry group representing the tire and rubber producers.
The strike is affecting production primarily at the four major tire makers in the country—Dunlop Africa Ltd., Bridgestone/Firestone Maxiprest Ltd., Continental Tyre South Africa Ltd., and Goodyear South Africa Ltd.
The tire manufacturers have lost about $7 million in sales during the two-week strike, according to Basil Smith, a spokesman for the New Tyre Manufacturing Employers´ industry grouping, quoted in several South African papers. Mr. Smith estimated the striking workers have suffered about $1 million in lost wages.