Asanda Nini and Zisanda Nkonkobe
THOUSANDS of workers in the motor manufacturing industry and components sector are expected to report for work today.
The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) called off the crippling six-week strike yesterday. It had had devastating consequences for both employers and employees.
Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said the affected parties had made compromises to reach a wage agreement.
Motor manufacturers have lost about R700-million a day since the strike began on August 19. The total loss is about R40-billion. Workers have also lost millions in wages.
Car manufacturers had resumed working after the strike by their workers ended several weeks ago, but were forced to halt production a few days later as workers in the components industry downed tools.
Component workers last week rejected a final offer of a 10% increase in the first year and an 8% increase over the next two years.
However, Jim said yesterday the union had eventually decided to accept the offer.
Mercedes-Benz SA (MBSA) vice-president for manufacturing Arno van der Merwe said he was relieved the strike was over.
"I don't think anyone could have been happy with seven weeks of industrial action – it's been very hard on our employees."
He said MBSA had returned to full production at the plant on Thursday.
East London-based Foxtech-Ikwezi director Pieter Bosch said he hoped the strike had not dented South Africa's image with overseas investors.
"We are really glad that it's over. There are no winners in this strike – we all lost," he said.