Members of the United National Transport Union (Untu) are expected to walk away from Transnet’s tools on Thursday after wage talks with the parastatal stalled.

Network pay negotiations

Untu and the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) on Monday rejected Transnet’s revised offer of 1.5% wages from this month, overtime pay and a 13th cheque, among other benefits.

Unions are demanding a pay rise of between 12% and 13.5%, but Transnet believes its revised offer is reasonable and fair and deserves serious consideration given the company’s current operational and financial performance.

Satawu gave Transnet a 48-hour strike notice on Tuesday and the union plans to go on strike on Monday.

“Illegal strike”

On Thursday morning, Transnet said it was aware some workers at its businesses had gone on illegal strike action after pay talks were not accepted.

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The company said any strikes currently taking place are illegal and unprotected as Untu appears to have failed to comply with the provisions set out in the Industrial Relations Act before the strike began.

Transnet spokesperson Ayanda Shezi said in a statement that contingency plans would be implemented due to the union strike.

“At this stage, Transnet is unable to anticipate the consequences of the strike or its potential impact on work, but remains committed to discussing the revised offer made by Untu and Satawu.

“In the event of mass protests, contingency plans will be implemented and the company will do everything in its power to ensure the safety of staff and facilities. The staff was also informed that the principle of ‘no work – no pay’ should not be followed,” Shazi said.

Cost of living

Meanwhile, Untu general secretary Kobus van Vuuren said the union rejected the semi-public wage offer because it did not match the 7.6% increase in the cost of living and the CPI.

“Untu’s pay negotiation team has completed over eight hours of robust communications which began today at 2pm [Wednesday]5 October 2022 with Transnet management.

“Unfortunately, Transnet management has not submitted a revised proposal that is consistent with the mandates we have received from our members and will therefore not be subject to a formal mandate process for acceptance or rejection by members,” Wuuren said in a statement.

At the same time, Transnet also applied to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to convene a conciliation process on the ongoing wage negotiations.

The trial is expected to begin on October 12.

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Images and video courtesy of the Caxon Zululand Observer.

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