SATAWU calls off Transnet strike, members to return to work on Thursday

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The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) has called off the strike at Transnet and is in the process of finalising an agreement which will be signed on Thursday.

SATAWU says its members will be reporting for work from Thursday, effectively ending the 12-day strike which has constrained commodity export and hampered the economy.

This week Transnet signed a three-year wage with the United National Transport Union (UNTU), the major union at the state freight rail company.

The agreement will see workers receiving a 6% wage increase in the first year, 5.5% in the second year and 6% in the third year.

SATAWU’s Amanda Tshemese explains, “I can confirm that we have called off the strike, our members are going to work from tomorrow at 6 AM. We are not going to sign anything yet with the employer because we still want to further our discussion on retrenchment clause and privatisation of the entity. The union is not going to sign and commit itself to any that doesn’t have job security as it’s only the working class that has been negatively affected and not the management.”


SATAWU had called a three-year wage deal agreed on Monday by Transnet and the majority UNTU a “betrayal” and vowed to continue with a strike which started on October 6 following a dispute over pay increases.

UNTU’s members, who make up 54% of Transnet’s workforce, started returning to work on Tuesday, allowing the company to start implementing recovery plans across its freight rail and port operations.

Fresh produce exporters who, along with miners, were among the most affected by the strike, said port operations had started to improve on Wednesday.

“Staffing levels across all the main container terminals have increased today, upwards of 80% and in some cases fully manned. The trend indicates that staff compliments could be fully manned very soon,” the Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa said in an update posted on its website.

Last week, the Minerals Council of South Africa said mining companies were losing 815 million rand ($44.62 million) per day in export revenue due to the strike, as major mineral export harbours were operating at between 12% and 30% of their daily averages due to the strike. -Additional reporting by Reuters 

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