Ameo says the declaration of deadlock in wage negations between itself and Numsa has been lifted following a meeting that continued into the early hours of yesterday. Numsa disputes that, but a wage deal could still be to be reached next Tuesday.

Ameo says the declaration of deadlock in wage negations between itself and Numsa has been lifted following a meeting that continued into the early hours of yesterday. Numsa disputes that, but a wage deal could still be to be reached next Tuesday.


CARtoday.com reported on Monday that the Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) was demanding a nine per cent wage increase across the board, while Automobile Manufacturers Employers Association (Ameo) refused to budge on its 6,5 per cent offer. The refusal by the employers to increase their offer prompted the union to threaten a strike before the end of the month.


However, both sides agreed yesterday to rethink their positions before returning to the drawing board next week after wage negotiations deadlocked earlier this week.


Ameo negotiator Dave Kirby yesterday described the talks as "constructive". He said the meeting resulted in the withdrawal of this week's declaration of deadlock to give all parties concerned enough time to consider the proposals suggested by facilitator Charles Nupen.


The parties were scheduled to meet again next Tuesday, when a compromise deal was expected to be struck. "Our position still remains that there is still a chance that the strike can be avoided," Kirby added.


Numsa did not rule out the possibility of a compromise deal, with spokesman Dumisa Ntuli saying the parties would go to Tuesday's meeting "to see if we cannot meet each other halfway", but disputed Kirby's statement that the deadlock had been withdrawn.


"How can we do that?" he asked. "We would need a workers' mandate to do so. It will not help the employers to keep shifting the goalposts."


Ntuli said “no progress” had been made at Tuesday's meeting, and indicated that the union was ready to down tools “before the end of the month”.


"In the many years that I have been with Numsa I cannot recall one moment when we agreed on a wage increase with the employers without striking," he said. "Vehicle sales are up, and apparently they have been fixing prices as well. I do not think a demand of a nine per cent increase is unreasonable."


"Where has all the money gone?" quoted Ntuli as saying.


Numsa's meeting with CEOs of various vehicle manufacturers would go ahead on Saturday. But Kirby has denied any knowledge of such a meeting, saying the CEOs could not enter into parallel negotiations with the trade union without the association.