Three unions end truckers’ strike

Three striking freight unions have accepted a revised wage offer of 9%, a union official said on Friday.

Truck drivers have hit the streets in Johannesburg to protest against wages as low as R3 000 a month. We talk to Satawu about progress in wage negotiations with the Road Freight Employers’ Association.

“Three unions have signed an agreement and their members will return to work on Monday,” said Reckson Baloyi, general secretary of the Professional Transport Workers’ Union (PTWU).

He said the PTWU, the Transport Allied Workers’ Union of SA (Tawusa) and the Motor Transport Workers’ Union (MTWU) had accepted the offer, while the Congress of South African Trade Unions-aligned union, the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu), had rejected the offer.

“Our understanding is that only one province, Limpopo, accepted the offer while the majority of Satawu members rejected it,” he said.

He said members of the three unions would return to work while Satawu would continue with the strike.

The offer tabled by the Road Freight Employers Association (RFEA) was a 9% increase across the board for 2011 and 8,5% for the second year.

Negotiations continued on Friday night with the unions proposing a further 1% to be granted between September and November this year and an 8% increase in the second year, but the employer rejected it.

An achievement by the unions was the employer agreeing to an extended bargaining unit, Baloyi said.

For the past 10 years supervisors and controllers were not included when unions negotiated.

“Another thing the members are happy about is the thirteenth cheque they will receive at the end of December.”

These revised terms to the wage agreement were added on Thursday, Baloyi said.

The unions were demanding a pay hike of 10% for 2011 and 2012.

They were also negotiating on decreasing the use of labour brokers and consultants in the industry.

The RFEA had initially offered 7,5% for 2011 and again in 2012. – Sapa

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