Salary demands by Transnet workers unfair to taxpayers: Economist

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Chief Economist at Efficient Group, Dawie Roodt says the salary demands made by Transnet workers are unfair to taxpayers.  This is after the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) and the United National Transport Union (Untu) rejected Transnet’s revised wage offer of between 4.25 to 5% saying it too low below the inflation rate.

Workers have emphasised that any offer below the current inflation rate of 7.6% is unacceptable.

Transnet has signed the picketing rules which give way to demonstrations at demarcated areas in the various provinces across the country.

Roodt says the economic impact of the Transnet strike will have huge implications and cost the country billions in lost export revenues.

“The reality is many private sector workers have lost their jobs and many of them are simply forced to take a reduction in their wages, while for the past two years we’ve lost more than a million jobs in the private sector but not one single civil servant has lost his job and Transnet is simply part of the state, it’s another civil service.  I think it’s simply unfair to expect from us the taxpayers, of the consumers in South Africa to pay for an increase of 13%, that’s what they are demanding at Transnet.”

Satawu shopsteward Mluleki Matekenya says the unions have joined forces to ensure that the workers’ demands are met: 

According to the picketing rules, unions are expected to appoint conveners to oversee the pickets, while Transnet has appointed site officers at all the approved demarcated areas.

Satawu has welcomed the signing of the picketing rules saying it is willing to go back to the negotiation table on condition that Transnet tables a reasonable wage offer.

Unions representing workers have encouraged their members to intensify the strike following the signing of the picketing rules by Transnet. Satawu says it wrote to the office of the President, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Public Enterprises seeking an intervention to the current impasse.


Head of Communications at Satawu Amanda Tshemese says wage talks between organised labour and Transnet will resume on Wednesday the 12 October.

“The employer has signed the picketing rules . I can also confirm that we have since started the salary negotiations with the employer.  It has been quite difficult. We were locked up with the employer last night until now. The employer has tabled a new offer between 4,25 and 5% across the board. The union has rejected the revised offer by the employer, we are not going to accept it, we feel like it’s still way too low.  The strike is going to continue until the employer tables something that is reasonable.”