The Employment and Labour Minister, Thulas Nxesi, says the impact the Transnet strike has on the economy is immeasurable.
His statement comes as efforts to end a wage strike get under way at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) and the United National Transport Union (UNTU) are demanding a salary increase of between 12 and 13% but the employer is offering 4%.
Nxesi says the impasse in wage talks between Transnet and the trade unions can only end if the engagement between the two parties continues.
He says, “We have made three commissioners available through the CCMA to come and be able to deal with this because you know that it will be too destructive on our economy. Our economy which is, in any case, weak at this stage is trying to recover in terms of exports and so on, so it was just an appeal. I will be monitoring this, we are speaking with the Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and we will ensure that there must be a resolution to this.”
VIDEO: Minister Thulas Nxesi says workers have a right to withdraw their labour:
On Monday, Satawu deputy president Nkoketse Sepogwane said it’s unfortunate the Transnet strike will have a devastating impact on the economy.
Sepogwane said they did try to reach out to the government to intervene in their wage talks deadlock with the employer but their cries fell on deaf ears.
“We’ve written to the President of the Republic to intervene at the very early stage of the wage negotiations when we foresaw that they’re going to deadlock and that the employer is not negotiating in good faith. We’ve written to comrade Pravin Gordhan – the Minister of Public Enterprise – who is the shareholder representative of Transnet to try and avert the strike for their urgent intervention in terms of the impasse that we could see that we’re going towards.”
VIDEO: Transnet in talks with the Bargaining Council over wages: