At a Daimler AG plant that overlooks the East London harbor in South Africa, robots help produce one of the world’s best-selling luxury cars. A line of one-armed, orange, computerized machines works under minimal human supervision, attaching panels to chassis for Mercedes-Benz C- Class sedans.
An empty bus that’s supposed to be taking Lonmin Plc employees back to work rolled along the dusty main road in Marikana in the heart of South Africa’s platinum belt, where miners have been on strike for four months.
South Africa is set for its worst year of industrial action since all-race elections in 1994 after a 20-day strike by state workers won them raises of more than twice the inflation rate, encouraging miners and autoworkers to hold out on their pay demands.
The rand posted the biggest decline among emerging-market currencies after Standard & Poor’s cut South Africa’s credit rating by one level, saying mining protests may incite social tension and pressure state spending.