About 72,000 car dealership and gas station employees in South Africa plan to join striking auto workers next week after a breakdown in wage discussions between employers and the country’s labor unions.
The workers will join employees in the auto manufacturing, construction and aviation industries that are already on strike. Workers are demanding higher wages and better working conditions.
The trade unions want a 14 percent rise in pay, but employers are only offering 10 percent, the BBC reported.
The strike began for auto workers on Aug. 19, when about 30,000 employees at plants operated by Ford Motor Co., Toyota and BMW walked off the job. The weeklong strike is costing the economy $70 million a day, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The first phases of the wage negotiations began on the week of May 28-30, 2013, and the second phase of the negotiations were held June 11-13, 2013. It was during last phase of negotiations that a deadlock was declared by the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa.
Castro Ngobese, NUMSA spokesman, said in a statement Tuesday that “workers are no longer willing to be subjected to starvation and poverty wages. We refuse to allow the bosses to perpetuate apartheid racialised and poverty wages under the current and new dispensation.”
Ngobese said the union has a number of marches and demonstrations planned for next week in the provinces of Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.
“These marches will be forming part of our organizational strategy and tactic to force the employer’s to concede to our reasonable and achievable demands,” Ngobese said.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.