- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: STRIKES BY BLACK WORKERS SPREAD THROUGHOUT THE MOTOR INDUSTRY.
- Date: 23rd May 1981
- Summary: 1. GV EXTERIOR Firestone factory with security police on gates. (2 SHOTS) 0.13 2. GV EXTERIOR General Motors building with workers emerging counting pay. (2 SHOTS) 0.23 3. SV PAN FROM Ford sign TO strikers queueing to collect pay through fence. (2 SHOTS) 0.37 4. CU Striker collecting pay. 0.47 5. LV Strikers outside hall. 0.54 6. SV Slogans supporting Mandela and ANC on bus. 0.58 7. SV Strikers entering hall. (2 SHOTS) 1.05 8. GV PAN INTERIOR Strikers chanting with clenched fists. (2 SHOTS) 1.24 9. CU striker with Ford tee shirt. 1.27 10. SV Trade union leader addressing meeting. 1.35 11. SV & LV Strikers leave hall and march down road. (2 SHOTS) 1.58 Initials JS Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 7th June 1981 13:00
- Location: PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA
- Country: South Africa
- Reuters ID: LVA9U2TP7YTCH21RZCVZZ2M9DK7Z
- Story Text: INTRODUCTION: Thousands of black workers employed in the South African motor industry have gone on strike. They have caused serious disruption at three companies in the southern city of Port Elizabeth - Ford, General Motors, and Firestone. There have also been industrial disputes in Pretoria and Cape Town.
SYNOPSIS: It was a strike at Firestone over pay and pensions that led to the troubles. Sympathy strikes at Ford and General Motors continued even after the original disputes were settled.
Then the Firestone dispute erupted again. This time the workers were acting in sympathy with their colleagues at General Motors.
At Ford, two workers who were supporting the Firestone strikers were fired for refusing to fit Firestone tyres. About 1400 Ford workers then went out on strike. Throughout East London about 2,000 men stopped work.
Meanwhile in Cape Town, the Leyland company sacked its entire workforce of 1900 after a strike in support of a pay claim. There has also been industrial trouble near Pretoria. In April 4,000 men were sacked after a strike.
Ironically, the trouble has come in an industry more liberal than most, All the companies are foreign-owned, and are sensitive about their operations in South Africa. In a rare reformist move, South Africa's blacks were granted the right to form trade unions. Many unions are quick to realise the strength of their new-found muscle. Last year the number of strikes was double the 1979 total.
Unions in the motor industry were determined to win concessions for their members. Although there are two motor unions, the operate as one, and have remained united. A strike at Ford last year led to pay increases throughout the industry, setting the pattern for the latest disputes. Play levels for blacks are low in South Africa, and few observers think the present strikes will be the last.
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