Gauteng freight strikers reject pay offer

2012-09-25 15:04

Hopes were dashed of a quick settlement to the nationwide strike by over 20 000 road freight employees as Gauteng strikers rejected their employers’ latest offer.

“The Gauteng branches have rejected [the] 8.5 [percent offer],” said SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) spokesperson Vincent Masoga.

They want their leaders to go back and demand the 12% increase they have asked for.

However, talks continued at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in Johannesburg this afternoon, where unions of the remaining provinces and employers discussed the 8.5% offer on the table, he said.

The CCMA has just finished facilitating an end to a six-week strike at Lonmin platinum mine in Rustenburg that spread to other mines in the area.

Earlier, striking truck drivers in the Johannesburg CBD threw stones at passing trucks.

Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar advised companies to tell their people not to send any trucks into the Johannesburg CBD in order to avoid further violence and damage to trucks.

Police spokesperson Captain John Maluleke said peace had been restored and nobody was arrested or injured, with police monitoring the situation.

Road freight sector employees are believed to have intimidated a driver on Richmond road in Pinetown.

A Durban metro police spokespersonsaid about 150 protesters were intimidating transport workers and a truck driver claimed that protesters stopped his vehicle and took his keys.

Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht, spokesperson for the Road Freight Employers Association, said there had been a few reported incidents related to the strike, but details were not clear as yet.

The association represented around 650 companies, ranging from “one man operations” to the very large, so details of worker turnout were also not available yet.

She said that over the weekend various options to end the dispute had been explored but she did not want to disclose these.

Earlier, Satawu said the strike came about when wage negotiations deadlocked after protracted discussions since early June at the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry (NBCRFLI).

Satawu, a Congress of SA Trade Unions affiliate, is the biggest union in the four-union strike, with an estimated 28 000 members in the road freight sector, said Masoga.

Members ranged from drivers delivering fuel to workers associated with a truck network which travelled around the country or crossed borders into neighbouring countries for other deliveries.

The other unions are the Transport and Allied Workers’ Union, the Professional Transport and Allied Workers’ Union SA and the Motor Transport Workers’ Union.

Satawu said the unions were aiming for an inflation-related wage settlement of 12% across the board, for implementation in 2013 and 2014.

They also wanted an equal increase for workers classified under the council’s extended bargaining unit.

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