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GM suspends South African output

By on July 5, 2014

General Motors (GM) suspended production at its main South African plant after a strike hit parts supplies, the U.S. automaker said on Friday.

About 2,000 workers affiliated with the National Union of Mineworkers went on strike at Impala Platinum’s IMPJ.J Marula mine on Friday demanding higher wages, in apparent response to the deal secured by rival union AMCU last week.

GM’s suspension of output at its plant in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth showed the escalating impact of the walkout, after NUMSA rejected an increased wage offer from the Steel and Engineering Industry Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA).

NUMSA’s more than 200,000 members went on strike on Tuesday, a move employers say will cost the economy more than $28 million a day in lost output.

South Africa’s labour minister was meeting the union after earlier talking to employers on Friday, a spokesman told Reuters, adding the government was hopeful of a deal soon.

President Jacob Zuma’s government said it was concerned about the reports of vandalism and intimidation. It appealed for dialogue.

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp said it was “business as usual” despite the strike. “We still have full production capacity,” spokeswoman Mary Willemse told Reuters.

The local unit of Mercedes Benz, an arm of Germany’s Daimler AG, said it did not expect an immediate impact.

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