Satawu vows to increase pressure for 12% increase

Striking truck drivers belonging to Satawu gather at Beyers Naude Square for a protest march. (Gallo)

Striking truck drivers belonging to Satawu gather at Beyers Naude Square for a protest march. (Gallo)

"All parties have reached a deadlock and none of them are participating in any talks at the moment," said spokesperson Vincent Masoga.

"We will use this opportunity to mobilise all our members and encourage them to unite in a clear purpose of putting as much pressure as possible for the employers to revert back to the negotiations table."

The strike over wages by more than 20 000 workers continued on Wednesday with unions reverting to a 12% pay demand after rejecting a lower offer by employers.

Workers in the sector embarked on a protected strike on Monday after wage negotiations deadlocked.

Masoga said the union intended to "ignite" other strikes in the maritime and freight rail industries, in solidarity with the current strike, to ensure no goods were moved until the road freight workers' demands were met.

National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry (NBCRFLI) spokesperson Karen Daniels said in a statement on Wednesday that while agreement was reached on many issues, the across-the-board (ATB) increment remained in dispute.

No further discussions
"As a consequence, the strike called by the trade unions will continue, and at this stage no further discussions between parties are planned."

She said employers and unions remained committed to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) process.

Masoga said Satawu remained confident that their marches would be peaceful.

On Tuesday, workers rejected the Road Freight Employers' Association's (RFEA) proposal of a staggered increase of 8.5% effective from March, and a further 0.5% from September next year.

The RFEA represents the labour interests of around 650 companies, from small operations to vast regional companies.

It confirmed on Wednesday morning that no further meetings had been scheduled.

Discussions about wages began in early June at the NBCRFLI.

Damages
Around noon on Wednesday, @PigSpotter tweeted, "M2E at Cleveland offramp blocked by striking truckers and trucks parked across highway."

Police spokesperson Captain John Maluleke said striking truck drivers would be demonstrating in the Johannesburg city centre later on Wednesday.

Democratic Alliance Gauteng transport spokesperson Neil Campbell said on Wednesday that Satawu must be held liable for damages incurred from the strike action in Johannesburg, including damage to cars and Park Station.

He said the Constitutional Court ruling on June 13 holding Satawu liable for riot damage caused during a march in Cape Town in May 2006 was applicable.

"Unions are not a law unto themselves and must not be allowed to intimidate law-abiding citizens through strong-arm and violent tactics," said Campbell. – Sapa

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