Transnet employees reject wage offer, strike planned for Thursday

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Workers at South Africa’s state-owned logistics firm Transnet will go on strike starting this Thursday over a wage dispute, in a move that could halt the export of key minerals and other cargo.

Transnet has been operating below capacity due to a shortage of locomotives, poor maintenance and vandalism and theft of its infrastructure, costing miners billions of rand in potential revenue.

A strike would paralyse freight rail services and impact South Africa’s ports, also managed by Transnet. The United National Transport Union (UNTU), which is the biggest labour union at Transnet, said it had served notice to begin industrial action on Thursday.

The other union at Transnet, South African Transport and Allied workers Union (SATAWU), said it would join in the strike from Monday. Both unions said Transnet’s offer of a 1.5% pay increase from October fell below their demands.

Transnet has said any increase beyond its current wage offer would not be sustainable.

Transnet has consistently made the point that its wage bill currently makes up over 66% of monthly operating costs.

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