One battle down: 15 000 transport workers to end strike

"Three of the unions have agreed to suspend strike action," a spokesperson for the employers' body, the Road Freight Employers’ Association, told Reuters on Tuesday following negotiations.

She said the major labour group, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, was not party to the agreement, which was made with three smaller unions: the Transport and Allied Workers Union of South Africa, the Motor Transport Workers Union and the Professional Transport Workers Union. Their members are due to suspend industrial action from 4pm on Tuesday.

"They believe that there is now sufficient common ground to suspend strike action at this stage," the employers' body said.

Negotiations between the four unions and employers would continue on Tuesday.

Satawu spokesperson Vincent Masoga said their members would continue to strike. They represent about 28 000 trucking workers.

Unions were back in negotiations with employers. Satawu wanted a 12% increase, but indicated a willingness to drop it to 10%.

The freight association said it had already offered a double-digit increase last week, but Satawu rejected it, saying it only amounted to 9%.

The strike began on September 24 and had left several trucks destroyed, people injured and – as of Tuesday morning, – at least one fatality.

Trucker Gary Stewart died in a Cape Town hospital after a stone thrown by striking truckers penetrated his windshield and struck him on the head on Wednesday.

Strikes continued across the country on Tuesday. In Durban cases of intimidation seemed to have died down, local authorities said.

At Durban's port a long queue of trucks was forming at the port's Bayhead area, stretching several kilometres over the Congella bridge into the Umbilo suburb.

Ethekwini metro police spokesperson Superintendent Eugene Msomi said this was due to truck drivers taking advantage of the fact that "the intimidation had died down". – Reuters, Sapa

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