Unions hopeful strikes will end

2012-10-06 17:37
A truck that was set on fire by strikers. (Lulama Zenzile, Beeld)

A truck that was set on fire by strikers. (Lulama Zenzile, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - The unions involved in the truck drivers' strike said action continued on Saturday but they were hopeful an agreement would be reached during negotiations next week.

"We are positive that we might find a solution because there is a lot at stake," the Motor Transport Workers' Union's (MTWU) Dirk White said.

"This strike is not about political play - people can lose their jobs."

The Road Freight Employers' Association (RFEA) spokesperson Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht said after negotiations deadlocked on Thursday night, talks were expected to continue on Tuesday.

Notice of negotiations

The strike began two weeks ago, after employers and unions failed to reach an agreement on wages.
Unions reverted to a 12% pay demand after rejecting a lower offer tabled by employers.

The unions involved are South African Transport & Allied Workers' Union (Satawu), the Professional Transport and Allied Workers' Union SA (PTAWU), the Transport and Allied Workers' Union of SA and MTWU.

Satawu spokesperson Vincent Masoga said the strike was continuing and they had received a notice of negotiations.

"We will always be hopeful," he said.

"More importantly, we are hopeful that the employers will play ball this time around."

PTAWU's Pancho Ndevu agreed with the other unions and said they will remain hopeful for the workers.

On Wednesday, the RFEA tabled an agreement with the unions, labour department and the CCMA which all parties indicated they were willing to sign.

"On Thursday, Satawu reneged on said agreement, despite the fact that the agreement addressed their need of a double-digit figure in the first year," Brown-Engelbrecht said.

"In our opinion, Satawu’s conduct is a breach of trust and threatens the institution of collective bargaining."

Court rules against strike

The agreement stated an increase of 10% in the first year, 8% on the second year, and 9% in a third additional year.

White said in order for an agreement to be reached, a 51% majority was needed to sign.

On Friday, the Labour Court in Johannesburg made a ruling which would make it tougher for unions to continue with the ongoing truck drivers' strike, Brown-Engelbrecht said.

"The RFEA recognises the right to strike - as long as such action takes place in an orderly fashion."

The court order stated that all unions involved should take "all reasonable steps" to communicate to members to "unequivocally condemn the use of any type of violence, intimidation or damage to property".
Read more on:    rfea  |  satawu  |  transport strike

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