Truck driver strike turns violent

2012-09-26 18:59


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Johannesburg - Officials said on Wednesday that striking truck drivers set alight vehicles and intimidated a driver in separate incidents in Cape Town and Durban on Wednesday.

Three people were hospitalised, said eThekwini metro police spokesperson Eugene Msomi.

A driver and his two assistants were injured when they tried to get away from striking drivers on Wednesday afternoon, said Msomi.

The driver tried to drive away from the protesters, but collided with a car before smashing into a tree.

He sustained serious head wounds, while his two assistants were slightly injured. The three were taken to hospital.

Msomi said the strikers had converged on Pinetown after about 500 had earlier staged a peaceful march through the centre of Durban.

Isolated protest incidents were reported earlier in the morning in the city's harbour area and southern industrial areas prior to the march, but there were no arrests.

The pay strike by more than 20 000 workers in the freight transport sector continued on Wednesday.

Unions reverted to a 12% pay demand after rejecting a lower offer by employers on Tuesday.

In Cape Town, striking truck drivers set alight two trucks in Nyanga, Cape Town police said.

"Two trucks have been burnt. One was a municipal truck and the other was delivering medicine," said police spokesperson FC van Wyk.


Road Freight Employers' Association (RFEA) spokesperson Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht said the situation had not changed since Wednesday morning, with no further meetings scheduled between unions and employers at this stage.

On Tuesday, workers rejected the RFEA's proposal of a staggered increase of 8.5% effective from March, and a further 0.5% from September next year.

The RFEA represents the labour interests of around 650 companies, from small operations to vast regional companies.

Workers in the sector embarked on a protected strike on Monday after wage negotiations deadlocked.

The four unions representing workers were the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), the Professional Transport and Allied Workers' Union SA (PTAWUSA), the Transport and Allied Workers' Union of SA (TAWU) and the Motor Transport Workers' Union (MTWU).

Earlier on Wednesday, Satawu spokesman Vincent Masoga said the union would step up the strike in the road freight transport sector in a bid to get the employers to the negotiating table.

"All parties have reached a deadlock and none of them are participating in any talks at the moment," said Masoga in a statement.

"We will use this opportunity to mobilise all our members and encourage them to unite in a clear purpose of putting as much pressure as possible for the employers to revert back to the negotiations table."

Masoga said the union intended to "ignite" other strikes in the maritime and freight rail industries, in solidarity with the current strike, to ensure no goods were moved until the road freight workers' demands were met.

He said Satawu remained confident that their marches would be peaceful.

Read more on:    rfea  |  mtwu  |  satawu  |  cape town  |  durban  |  transport strike

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