Transnet employees in Mbombela, Mpumalanga and other plants across the province have also joined the nationwide strike demanding wage increments. Both United Transport Union (Untu) and the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) say they are determined to push the employer to come closer to their demand.
Satawu vows to shut down all Transnet operations:
They are demanding an increase of between 12 and 13% but Transnet is offering four percent. Last week, the Labour Court dismissed Transnet’s urgent interdict to have the strike declared illegal.
Employees are not backing down and union members at Transnet continue to down tools. They rejected both the 1.5 and 3% wage offer. Employees say the new offer is an insult considering the cost of living is increasing.
Some of the employees in Mbombela had this to say.
“During the time of COVID, we were the guys in front line, we were guys supporting whatever the country needed and now three years later they come with 1.5% increase or a 3% increase that is water down where none of your pension or your allowance or medical aid is going to be lifted as well. So, we demand a better increase, price of petrol, the cost of living that has increasing is escalating daily. How much is 3% for a general labourer, we really can’t accept that due to cost of living, everyone is affected even if you employed or not employed.”
Untu steward says the strike action is affecting Transnet operations.
”There will be some shortages of petrol, diesel in garages and another thing we are transporting coal to generate electricity, so that will affect even Eskom. Even now Eskom is in crisis of load shedding, how much it will affect and more will be affected,” explain Isaac Ngomane Untu shop steward.
The union says they are not backing down on their demand.
“We are demanding 13% or at least the employer can meet us halfway maybe offer 12 %, maybe we can accept that but if they are still talking about 3%, maybe 12% we can agree, the 3% is a no,” says Ngomane.
In a statement, Transnet remains of the view that the strike is unprotected.
Workers have vowed to continue with their strike until their demands are met. The strike action could impact economic activity with ports and rail services expected to be affected.