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Toyota Workers Strike for Bonus in South Africa

Union says employees will not return to jobs until all workers receive retention pay.

Workers at Toyota South Africa Motors will go on strike from Wednesday for a bonus of 1,500 rands (US$172) after a court blocked an injunction bid by the company, their union said.

A labor court gave the workers permission to down tools from Wednesday, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) said in a statement late Tuesday.

"The workers will be embarking on a protected and indefinite strike action demanding a retention bonus of 1,500 rands for all workers in the plant," the union said.

The company has only given some workers the bonus and the others will strike until everybody receives the benefit, the union said.

The court's blocking of the interdict "is a victory for our members at Toyota ... and we will definitely halt production at this plant until workers get their retention bonus demand," said NUMSA regional secretary Mbuso Ngubane.

A strike halted production at the company's plant in Durban in the east of the country early this month.

The firm, which produces 120,000 vehicles a year, is the seventh biggest distributor of Toyota (IW 1000/8)  vehicles outside Japan, according to the company.

Strikes have rocked Africa's largest economy, with 100,000 people downing tools starting in the platinum mining sector, then spreading to other mining industries, transport and manufacturing. Demands have focused on wage hikes.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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