Transnet declares force majeure at ports as workers intensify industrial action

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Transnet has declared force majeure at all its ports as striking workers begin to intensify their industrial action over wages.

Force majeure will protect the state-owned company against failure to fulfill its contractual obligations.

Transnet workers belonging to the United National Transport Union (UNTU) downed tools from midnight Thursday.

The company failed to avert the strike with its last-minute revised offer of between 3% and 4%, while workers are demanding a 12% increase.

Transnet operates the country’s freight rail network and all the country’s ports.

The company has urged its workers to reconsider the offer as it believes it is fair and reasonable.

UNTU’s statement as it readies itself for strike action: 

Satawu dismisses claims of illegal strike

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) has dismissed claims that the planned strike at Transnet is illegal.

The union says 18 000 of their members at Transnet will down tools on Monday over the wage dispute.

Economists have warned it could be hugely damaging to supply chains and the economy as a whole. Industries like mining rely heavily on exports.

Transnet has argued that the strike is illegal due to lack of evidence of the balloting process and the absence of picketing rules.

Satawu General-Secretary Jack Mazibuko says the meeting with Transnet has deadlocked.

“A month ago, Transnet made a profit of R5 billion during the time when they were declaring their profits at the end of their last financial year. That five billion is the money that has been worked by workers and workers were working even during the hardship of lockdown. So, we think our request for a double digit is reasonable (and) is based on the fact that indeed workers have worked, and they have made a company to have the five billion that they are claiming as a profit.”

Mazibuko elaborates in the video below: