Thousands of workers went on a strike on Thursday in a fresh round of labor unrest which has affected the auto industry in South Africa over the past months.
Organized by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), more than 3,000 transport workers took part in the strike, demanding wage increases of 12 percent over a two-year period.
SATAWU said they took the industrial action after employers rejected the workers' demand, offering only a 10 percent increase for next year and eight percent for 2015. The strike has brought the transport to ports to nearly a standstill.
Local vehicle distribution operations at major auto manufacturers were affected by the strike, including BMW, Volkswagen AG, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz. Imports of vehicles into the local market were also impacted.
South Africa's auto industry was hard hit by a persistent strike in August and September.
Auto manufacturers suffered a revenue loss of about 20 billion rands (about 2 billion U. S. dollars) due to the strike, according to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa.
With the vehicle and automotive component manufacturing sectors accounting for approximately 30 percent of South Africa's manufacturing output, the strike would inevitably result in a lower economic growth and lower domestic and export production and sales, the association said.