Numsa strike: Businesses could close down

Employers are now afraid that even if a wage settlement is reached they won't be able to cope.

Over 100 factories have had to shut their doors in Benoni following violence and intimidation by striking Numsa members. Picture:Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Small business owners in Benoni on Gauteng's East Rand on Wednesday said they're at the risk of closing down due to the ongoing National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) wage strike.

About 200,000 workers affiliated to the union downed tools across the country at the beginning of July.

Video: Benoni businesses on the brink.

Employees are demanding a 10 percent increase per year for the next three years, revised down from the original 15 percent.

The strike has been marred by violence and intimidation with some non-striking employees being prevented from going to work.

Employers are afraid that even if a wage settlement is reached, they won't be able to cope.

"If it carries on like this we might have to close down."

Some employees are desperate for work, despite threats from striking workers.

"You just take the risk of going to work and it's scary. You don't know what they [striking workers] will do if they catch you."

TOYOTA HALTS PRODUCTION

Japanese automotive manufacturer Toyota confirmed it suspended production at two of its plants in Durban in light of the crippling strike in the metal and automotive sectors.

The world's biggest automaker said there's been a shortage of parts due to the strike.

Toyota suspended production of its Corolla, Hilux and Fortuner vehicles.

Company spokesperson Mary Willemse said the production of Quantum minibuses and trucks will continue because stock is still available.

Employer body Seifsa yesterday withdrew its latest wage offer to Numsa because it exhausted its mandate.

Numsa meanwhile said it was not bothered by Seifsa's decision to withdraw.

The employer body on Tuesday said it had no plans to make a new wage offer to the union.

Numsa rejected the conditional offer on Sunday, which included a 10 percent increase this year, 9,5 percent in 2015 and a further nine percent in 2016.

The union's general secretary Irvin Jim says the strike will continue until workers' demands are met.

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