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Toyota halts most production in SA

After industry fails to reach a wage deal with Numsa.

The world’s biggest automaker Toyota said Wednesday it was suspending most of its production in South Africa because of a parts shortage linked to a crippling metal sector strike.

The move comes a day after the body representing South Africa’s steel and engineering industry said it had failed to reach a labour deal with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), which rejected its final wage offer over the weekend.

“Production cannot restart until the Numsa strike is resolved and supply of parts is re-established,” Toyota said in a statement, adding that “we will continue to closely watch the situation”.

Toyota South Africa Motors would suspend production of the Corolla sedan, Hilux pickup truck and Fortuner sport utility vehicle, the Japanese auto giant said.

The company produced a total of 141,500 Corolla, Hilux and Fortuner vehicles in South Africa last year, Toyota said.

Production of the Hiace and Dyna commercial truck would continue, it added.

In its list of demands, the union insisted it would strike until the lowest paid non-skilled workers made around R6 000 a month, a roughly 12% increase.

It also wants a one-year deal rather than the three years offered by employers and is calling for increased staff housing allowances.

Union spokesman Castro Ngobese told AFP that there were “no wage talks going on right now”.

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