The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Prasheen Maharaj estimates that the Transnet strike will cost the economy about a billion rand a day.
Speaking on the sidelines of the World Maritime Day Parallel Event in Durban, Maharaj said the previous Transnet strike cost the economy R7 billion in 2010.
He estimates that the current strike could cost the economy between R12 and 15 billion in total.
Maharaj however warns that it could have a wider negative impact in that countries can lose confidence in ordering goods from South Africa.
“Especially Durban, it was not just COVID-19, it was the looting and rioting, it was the cyber attack, the flooding, and now the strike. So of all the economies, I think, in this country – we are the most susceptible to further economic recession. And obviously, you know, the only way South Africa can get its way out of this economic depression is through integration in the global economy through further exports. But the world will not have confidence in us anymore if we have protracted strikes because our supply chains are severely affected.”
Transnet workers are continuing with their nationwide strike over wages:
Meanwhile Western Cape authorities say the ongoing strike by Transnet workers will be a major setback to province’s economic recovery.
The Western Cape Cabinet has met and was briefed by Provincial Finance and Economic Opportunities Minister Mireille Wenger. She outlined the impact of the strike, particularly on the Port of Cape Town.
She says the provincial Government has offered support to Transnet in implementing its Business Continuity Plan.
“While marine services are functional at the Port of Cape Town, operations especially at the container terminal are limited, our economy cannot take another hit like a strike. In the end, it’s our citizens who will suffer the consequences of a disruptive strike especially the thousands who are employed in the agricultural sector in the export sector and our importers.”
However, Transnet has again said it does not have the money to meet the salary increase demanded by workers affiliated to unions, SATAWU and UNTU.
The workers’ unions and Transnet have been locked in wage talks for a second day at the bargaining council in Johannesburg.
In a meeting that lasted until midnight last night, Transnet offered a revised offer of between 4.5% and 5%.
The unions rejected the offer saying it was below the inflation rate.
Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza held a virtual meeting with the parties Wednesday.
Transnet Strike | Union members stick to double-digit wage increase as negotiations continue:
The workers are demanding a wage increase of between 12% and 13%. Transnet spokesperson, Ayanda Shezi says the negotiations between the parties are continuing
“For us as a company, it’s critical that Transnet is sustainable beyond this point. Us being able to afford and give affordable salary increases means that we can protect the jobs that we do have currently as Transnet. So, we are appealing to our employees and the unions to accept the offer that is on the table because it gets us through this point. Then we can focus on turning the business around and hopefully improving our operational performance and therefore our financial performance.”
Transnet Strike | Unions encourage members to intensify strike action as wage negotiations continue:
Meanwhile, the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) has accused management of Transnet at the company’s Bloemfontein Depot of intimidating striking workers by sending text messages of intimidation.
Regional chairperson of NUMSA, Thamsanqa Mangwe says the employer must stop this as workers affiliated to NUMSA, SATAWU and UNTU vow to continue with industrial action for salary increases.
“The issue of management intimidating workers through SMSEs, we say it must stop because we are subsidized with data, wifi and air time. They are sending every messages to workers and these phones are not brought by Transnet. We are not going to back down because we are being intimidated,” says Mangwe.