/ 12 May 2010

Transnet granted interdict as strike intensifies

Transnet was on Tuesday granted a Labour Court interdict prohibiting its protesting workers from intimidating non-strikers and damaging property.

“The court interdicted Satawu from unlawfully interfering with business or activities of Transnet and interfering with the performance by any officials or employees of Transnet of their duties,” read a notice, signed by Transnet’s human resources executive Pradeep Maharaj, which was sent to unions.

The interdict also prohibits protesting workers from assaulting or intimidating Transnet officials and its employees, blockading streets and obstructing traffic.

Transnet spokesperson John Dludlu said the company welcomed the Labour Court’s decision, and that it was “deeply concerned” about the violence and intimidation that had accompanied the strike.

The United Transport and Allied Trade Union (Utatu) on Tuesday announced it would join the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) in its nationwide strike against Transnet. The parastatal was sticking to its 11% wage offer on Tuesday afternoon. Unions wanted 15%.

Utatu secretary Chris de Vos said the union decided to join Satawu after its members rejected the 11% offer.

“As from tomorrow [Wednesday] 6am our members would be in the streets picketing. We have decided to officially join the strike,” de Vos said.

Satawu policy research officer Jane Barrett said Wednesday’s strike would be “massive”.

About 84% of Transnet employees were expected to down tools, leaving the parastatal with only a handful of non-unionised workers, if they decided to work.

Transnet employs nearly 54 000 people, with Satawu representing 39% and Utatu 45% of these workers. — Sapa