Unfortunate that Transnet strike will have devastating impact on economy: Satawu

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The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) Deputy President Nkoketse Sepogwane says it’s unfortunate the Transnet strike will have a devastating impact on the economy.

The union is seeking a wage increase of between 12 and 13% while Transnet is offering 3%.

Earlier, Satawu and the United National Transport Union (Untu) said efforts to establish picketing rules with Transnet management for the strike have been unsuccessful.

The unions say Transnet is breaking the Labour Relations Act by refusing to establish picketing rules.

On Sunday, the Labour Court dismissed Transnet’s urgent interdict to have the strike declared unprotected.

Sepogwane says they did try to reach out to government to intervene in their wage talks deadlock with the employer but their cries fell on deaf ears.

“We’ve written to the President of the Republic to intervene at the very early stage of the wage negotiations when we foresaw that they’re going to deadlock, and that the employer is not negotiating in good faith. We’ve written to comrade Pravin Gordhan as the Minister of Public Enterprise who is the shareholder representative of Transnet to try and avert the strike for their urgent intervention in terms of the impasse that we could see that we’re going towards.”

VIDEO: Untu and Satawu share more on the strike:

Production and exports

Kumba Iron Ore says production and exports will be hampered by the Transnet strike.

“As a result of the disruption to Transnet’s rail and port services, the estimated impact on production is approximately 50 000 tons per day for the first seven days and thereafter approximately 90 000 tons per day. Export sales will be impacted by approximately 120 000 tonnes per day,” Kumba said in a statement.

Kumba, which exports the bulk of its iron ore to China, Europe, Japan and South Korea, expects to produce and export between 38 million and 40 million tons of the mineral this year.

The company’s production and exports were 40.9 million tons and 40.2 million tons respectively in 2021.

Cape Town

Transnet employees are staging a picket outside the Port of Cape Town as part of the national strike action.

Untu’s, Yandiswa Menziwa says, “Untu and Satawu are combined today for the strike started on Thursday. As much as we don’t have picketing rules we are standing outside of the port, so that is the situation. All the employees are here.”

Additional reports by Reuters and Carmel Loggenberg-Roberts.