The tyre industry strike continued into its third day on Tuesday, with wage negotiations progressing slowly, National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa) spokesperson Mziwakhe Hlangani said.
Almost 4 000 of the 6 000 workers in the tyre industry had downed tools over wages last week.
Industry spokesperson Attie Higgs said that progress had been made on several of the nonwage demands, but wage demands maintained the “same position”.
Tyre manufacturers Dunlop, Continental and Goodyear had made a 7,5% wage offer, with Bridgestone having offered a 7% wage increase.
Unions are demanding 10%.
“We want to force employers to improve their offer because the industry has been reporting good profits over the past three years. We are hopeful of a significant wage increase,” Hlangani said.
Meanwhile, Higgs has refuted these claims, saying that there had been little growth in the industry and that, over the past three to four years, the industry market share had dropped as a result of imports.
Higgs, however, was confident that employers and workers would finally settle on a figure that was “somewhere in the middle”.
He maintained that in the short term the strike impact was limited, but that should the strike extend over a longer period, the impact would be severe.
“We can import tyres – up to certain sizes.”
Tyre manufacturer Continental Tyres on Tuesday reported limited production of some 30%.
“The production process has been adversely impacted upon. Goodyear is currently sustaining limited production,” Goodyear group public relations manager Lize Hayward said on Monday.
Bridgestone group communications GM Romano Daniels said that the company could not afford an extended strike.
There was no production at Bridgestone as the company had issued a lock out notice to all employees on Friday.