Satawu strike over pay to continue on Wednesday

Talks to resolve a pay dispute between the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) and the Road Freight Employers’ Association (RFEA) continued late on Tuesday afternoon.

RFEA spokesperson Magretia Brown said no agreement had yet been reached and the strike would continue on Wednesday.

She said the RFEA had received reports of pickets and strikes around the country on Tuesday but “nothing major”.

An 11% wage increase offer by the RFEA reverted to a 10,5% increase when Satawu took up protest action.

The RFEA maintained that the offer was “more than reasonable under the current economic conditions”.

Satawu’s demands were “unrealistic in the extreme” and “totally out of line” with the economic realities of the industry’s declining freight volumes.

Satawu is demanding a salary of R6 000 a month for long-distance drivers who presently earn R4 317 a month.

The union is demanding a 13 percent increase, four months’ paid maternity leave and a job guarantee on return to work.

According to Satawu, the strike would involve at least 30 000 workers.

Brown said the Motor Transport Workers’ Union, the Professional Transport Workers’ Union, and the Transport and Allied Workers’ Union of South Africa had not issued strike notices, had indicated they did not support the strike, and would advise their members not to participate.

The Fuel Retailers’ Association warned last week that a strike by truck drivers transporting fuel could create problems.

“The infrastructure is under pressure in any event—so a strike will cause chaos,” said the association’s chief executive officer Peter Morgan.

Most petrol stations had a two-day lead time, said Morgan.—Sapa