Transnet has lost its court bid to declare the strike by members of the United National Transport Union (UNTU), unprotected. The state-owned company asked for an urgent interdict to halt the industrial action.
UNTU members downed tools on Thursday, with members of the rival South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) expected to join the strike on Monday. Transnet is offering an increase of three to four %. Unions are demanding 13 .5 %. The action has forced Transnet to declare a force majeure at the ports.
“Like we all know the cost of living went up a lot, the bread went up, the basic food that we are eating went up and that’s the reason why we are striking, the employees especially in the port of Cape Town work long hours they are 95 % of the time at work to provide for their families and without a decent increase they won’t be able to do that,” Chantell Coetzee, UNTU Union representative elaborates.
Cosatu president, Zingisa Losi says blame for the impact of Transnet strike on the economy should not be shifted on workers. Losi was speaking at the federation’s march in Durban. Cosatu members protested outside a Game branch in the CBD against retrenchments by the retail owner Massmart. They also protested outside the Transnet offices at the Durban port.
Economists and business have warned that the strike will cripple the already ailing economy. Losi says Transnet executives are to blame for not tabling a better offer.
VIDEO: Impact of Transnet strike on SA economy: Dr Sanele Gumede