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South African Tire Workers Return From Strike

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After a month-long strike over higher wages at tire companies, South African union workers will return to work in Apollo, Continental and Goodyear plants. A resolution has not been reached with Bridgestone, resulting in a temporary suspension of the strike while further negotiations are made.

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Workers in the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) will return to work Thursday. The union reported it made headway on some of its key demands. NUMSA has been in negotiations over wage increases and improved working conditions since late May with the New Tyre Manufacturing Industry Employers’ Association (NTMIEA).

Terms of the wage raise settlement include workers who are earning minimum wages for their pay grade to gradually be progressed to maximum rates of pay beginning July 1, 2011. This movement will be completed by June 30, 2014.

Among other provisions, the agreement also calls for the development of a skills-based model to provide for multi-skill training and assessment for workers employed after July 2008. Workers employed on short-term contracts will now be entitled to medical and disability benefits, as well as severance pay.

NUMSA has only suspended the strike at the local affiliate of Bridgestone, saying it is exploring “all avenues including legal avenues, and further primary and secondary strike actions if necessary to confront BFSA.”

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