The National Union of Metalworkers SA (Numsa) and the Automobile Manufacturers Employers’ Organisation (Ameo) on Wednesday ended four months of negotiations - and averted a strike - to reach a three-year agreement for the motor manufacturing industry.

The National Union of Metalworkers SA (Numsa) and the Automobile Manufacturers Employers’ Organisation (Ameo) on Wednesday ended four months of negotiations - and averted a strike - to reach a three-year agreement for the motor manufacturing industry.

In terms of the agreement, workers will receive an average wage increase of 7,5 per cent in the first year. Wages in the second and third years will increase by CPIX plus one per cent with a guaranteed increase of no less than five per cent.

A Numsa co-ordinator said other benefits included all workers having access to health insurance and/or medical aid membership (including anti-retrovirals for HIV/AIDS sufferers); adult basic education during working hours and paid by the employers; and four months’ fully paid maternity leave.

Motor industry analyst Tony Twine of Econometrix said that while the wage increase was "not outrageous in terms of the increased unit output of the vehicle assemblers over the past 12 months", it would in future closely resemble previous agreements.

"The most important thing is that both sides have reached an apparently fair solution without resorting to industrial action, which might have unnerved foreign parents," Twine said.