News / Africa

South African Economy Hit by Metalworkers' Strike

Members of the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) march on the first day of a nationwide strike in Johannesburg, July 1, 2014.
Members of the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) march on the first day of a nationwide strike in Johannesburg, July 1, 2014.

A strike by 220,000 engineers and metalworkers has dealt major blow to South Africa's economy.

The labor dispute has been marked by violent clashes between police and striking workers and reports of looting and intimidation by union members.

The strike comes just a week after settlement of a five-month-long strike by platinum workers. The walkout cost three main platinum mining firms $2.25 billion in lost revenue

The latest action was called by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, or NUMSA, the country’s largest union. NUMSA is demanding a 12 percent pay raise and better housing allowances for workers.
 
The strike affects around 10,500 companies, including steel producers, foundries, construction companies and automotive suppliers.  

General Motors South Africa (GMSA) suspended vehicle assembly in Port Elizabeth on Thursday, saying that the strike left “no other option.” The company builds around 50,000 vehicles a year.

“The ongoing labor disruptions are harming the South African economy and affecting the country’s image around the globe," said Gishma Johnson, General Motors SA's communications manager. "We recommend that government, business and labor need to work together in a constructive manner to implement solutions which are in the best interest of the country as a whole.”
 
A protracted strike could also exacerbate construction delays at two badly needed power stations being built by Eskom, the state utility.  

On Thursday police fired rubber bullets at workers who were blocking an entrance to the Eksom Medupi power station construction site.
 
Local radio reports said striking workers assaulted people and looting offices in Johannesburg. NUMSA denied the allegations.
 
Ratings agency Moody’s warned that this strike, combined with a weak investment climate, could lead to another credit downgrade. That would increase loan costs for borrowers and likely damage investor confidence, which has already been bashed by the country’s lingering “strike season."
 
Negotiations have been unsuccessful so far, but discussions are expected to continue through the weekend.
 
For businesses in South Africa, a settlement cannot come soon enough. The stoppage is estimated to be costing around $28 million a day.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid