Johannesburg - A strike over wages by more than 20 000
workers in the freight transport sector continued on Wednesday with unions
reverting to a 12% pay demand after rejecting a lower offer by employers.
"Whereas the parties were able to reach agreement on
many issues, the across the board (ATB) increment, remains in dispute,"
National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry
(NBCRFLI) spokesperson Karen Daniels said in a statement.
"As a consequence, the strike called by the trade
unions will continue, and at this stage no further discussions between parties
The employers and the unions remained committed to the
Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration process, she said.
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.
Workers in the sector embarked on a protected strike on
Monday after wage negotiations deadlocked.
Discussions about wages began in early June at the NBCRFLI.
The Professional Transport and Allied Workers' Union SA
(PTAWUSA) and the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) were in
discussion about the wage talks with the Transport and Allied Workers' Union of
South Africa and the Motor Transport Workers' Union (MTWU), said PTAWUSA road
freight co-ordinator Puncho Ndevu.
This was because it appeared they were putting their
interests before those of their members.
"We are trying to arrange a meeting with the
association (RFEA) to find an agreement," said Ndevu.
"We need to move forward and try to consider this offer
which is on the table and take things from there."
MTWU national co-ordinator Solomon Mothibedi said employers
had negotiated in bad faith.
"On Friday there was something on the table which we
were going to take to our members so they could decide on it," he said.
"Then the employers went to our members behind our
backs and said the strike was off."
Mothibedi said that with the parties back to their original
positions, the union would see what happened on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, striking truck drivers in the Johannesburg CBD
threw stones at passing trucks.
Johannesburg metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent
Wayne Minnaar said on Wednesday that if illegal protests took place, the
organisers would be charged. "It is quiet at the moment," he said.
Satawu, a Congress of SA Trade Unions affiliate, is the
biggest union in the four-union strike, with an estimated 28 000 members in the
road freight sector, spokesperson Vincent Masoga said on Tuesday.
Members ranged from drivers delivering fuel to workers
associated with a truck network which travelled around the country or crossed
borders into neighbouring countries for other deliveries.
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