GM’s S. Africa production halted as union rejects offer

Jul 05 2014, 01:21 IST
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SummaryGeneral Motors suspended production at its main South African plant after a strike hit parts supplies...

General Motors suspended production at its main South African plant after a strike hit parts supplies, the US automaker said on Friday, making it the latest victim of relentless labour unrest in Africa’s most advanced economy.

Violence erupted on some picket lines on Thursday, as the wage strike by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa dealt a further blow to an economy damaged by a five-month walkout in the platinum industry that only ended last week.

It will also further unnerve investors, who are increasingly frustrated by the unremitting labour strife and perceptions that Pretoria is unable, or unwilling, to rein in militant unions.

GM’s suspension of output at its plant in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth showed the escalating impact of the walkout, after the union rejected an increased wage offer from the Steel and Engineering Industry Federation of Southern Africa late on Thursday.

“The plant has been shut since yesterday because of the parts supplier issues,” spokeswoman Denise van Huyssteen said.

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