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Numsa strike begins

Numsa claims 40,000 members which include petrol attendants have embarked on a nationwide strike.

Service at filling stations are expected to be severely affected as petrol pump attendants embark on a nationwide strike.

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - As strike action in multiple sectors are still under negotiation, service at filling stations will be severely affected as petrol pump attendants go on a nationwide strike today.

The industrial action over a breakdown in wage talks with employers will also affect workers at car manufacturing plants, panelbeating shops and vehicle repair stores.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is demanding a double digit wage increase while employers are offering between 5 and 7 percent.

Numsa's Vuyo Lufele said a protest march has been planned for today.

"We're expecting a 90 percent turnout, which will be a huge impact to the petrol service stations."

Numsa is attempting to secure the increase for 70,000 workers including those not represented by any union.

Motorists have been warned the mass action could leave them stranded without fuel.

Petrol attendants downed tools at 6am this morning.

Numsa's Karl Cloete said although motorists will feel the impact of the strike, the public must unite in solidarity with workers.

"We're dealing with employers that haven't moved beyond the apartheid period in terms of the labour market."

The union will today lead marches in Randburg and Cape Town to lobby non-unionised workers to join the strike.

Cloete said employers are not coming to the table.

"The motor industry employers are reckless as they became upset because we use our right to strike if any engagement doesn't succeed and when they fail to talk to us."

The union's Irvin Jim said the demands are not that farfetched.

"We're not coming up with extravagant demands for the garage workers. These are the people who stand there on cold nights."

But the Retail Motor Industry Organisation said a double digit salary is out of the equation as small businesses can't afford this.

Petrol attendants earn up to R700 per week.

More marches are planned for other areas later this week.

The motor industry strike is estimated to cost the industry R600 million per day in revenue.

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