Gauteng freight strikers reject pay offer

2012-09-25 18:15

Johannesburg - Hopes were dashed of a quick settlement to the nationwide strike by over 20 000 road freight employees as Gauteng strikers rejected their employers' latest offer on Tuesday.

"The Gauteng branches have rejected (the) 8.5% (offer)," said SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) spokesperson Vincent Masoga.

They want their leaders to go back and demand the 12% increase they have asked for.

However, talks continued at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in Johannesburg on Tuesday afternoon, where unions of the remaining provinces and employers discussed the 8.5% offer on the table, he said.

The CCMA has just finished facilitating an end to a six-week strike at Lonmin platinum mine in Rustenburg that spread to other mines in the area.

Earlier, striking truck drivers in the Johannesburg CBD threw stones at passing trucks.

Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar advised companies to tell their people not to send any trucks into the Johannesburg CBD in order to avoid further violence and damage to trucks.

Police spokesperson Captain John Maluleke said peace had been restored and nobody was arrested or injured, with police monitoring the situation.

Road freight sector employees are believed to have intimidated a driver on Richmond road in Pinetown.

A Durban metro police spokesperson said about 150 protesters were intimidating transport workers and a truck driver claimed that protesters stopped his vehicle and took his keys.

Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht, spokesperson for the Road Freight Employers Association, said there had been a few reported incidents related to the strike, but details were not clear yet.

The association represented around 650 companies, ranging from "one man operations" to the very large, so details of worker turnout were also not available yet.

She said that over the weekend various options to end the dispute had been explored but she did not want to disclose these.

Earlier, Satawu said the strike came about when wage negotiations deadlocked after protracted discussions since early June at the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry (NBCRFLI).

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, said Masoga.

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.

The other unions are the Transport and Allied Workers' Union, the Professional Transport and Allied Workers' Union SA and the Motor Transport Workers' Union.

Satawu said the unions were aiming for an inflation-related wage settlement of 12% across the board, for implementation in 2013 and 2014.

They also wanted an equal increase for workers classified under the council's extended bargaining unit.

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  • nectarios.photiou - 2012-09-25 19:26

    The one thing that the strikers do not realize is that at the end of the day, they are going to strike again. Why?? Because when they do get their increase, the companies then charge to the customers, that means retailers have to put up their prices too... Then it's a circle again, where life becomes expensive and then the strikers strike again and here we go again... know what I mean??

      glen.e.huysamer - 2012-09-25 20:30

      That is why it is so important that truckers jump the scale, once and for all, there salary increases lag way behind the norm, Rather strike hard now, and do it well so that they can be in front of the pendulum rather than trailing behind, as they have been for years. This 'backlog' in proper renumeration is totally the unions fault, as for the Road Freight Employers Association they have been exploiting the fact that truckers find it difficult to meet with their peers in order to correctly collectively bargain for proper economy related salaries. Many companies opting for the use of labour brokers to cut corners where ever possible. These labour brokers 'skim' the very life out of the truckers. With many having very little or no recourse to the CCMA when businesses do truckers in and this happens extensively on a daily basis. The value of truckers has over the years been totally distorted, with very or no regard to the danger involved in the task itself, medical aids, emergency care, time spent doing the work, regulation of hours, time off and a whole host of other industry created problems, which have been allowed to slide for so long that change will have to be forced from the bottom up. Claiming that negotiations started early July, and then hoping for a quick resolution? What a joke, the industry knew the concerns of truckers long before June, but the RFEmployers Association thought they could attempt a 'blow over' Now they must pay and get their act straight!

      repline.rasbanda - 2012-09-26 11:05

      Personally Glen.E.Huysamer. Your comment is illogical at best, uneducated at worst. The fact that you even try to negotiate the fact that "Salary Increases" should increase your wealth just drips with the statment "I have no idea what is happening in the Economies of a country". A salary increase in no way can bring a "whole" sector above the bread-line or increase their purchasing power. The whole idea you are trying to bring across is to increase the purchasing power of the Freight sector. - In no means am I against this idea but this will NEVER happen even if you get an 25% (/end sarcasm) increase. It is clear that you lack the knowledge of what occurs in the economics. The only way to increase the purchasing power of ANYONE, is: 1) Higher Productivity (or an increase in goods so prices can fall, and more people can buy) 2) Lower Unemployment rate (so that more people can afford to buy items, and therefore decrease prices) 3)Increase in Education and Capital in the economy (Increased Capital leads to more Jobs - which coincidentally leads to a lower unemployment rate, and an increase in education, which AUTOMATICALLY leads to a higher Purchasing power due to an increased salary. The government should be fixing the real problems in the country, being unemployment. Once this is fixed all the other things (crime, purchasing power etc) will fall into place.

  • Mandy Casey - 2012-09-25 22:26

    Can we just get truckers off the roads and more freight onto trains? Roads are alot safer with less trucks.

      glen.e.huysamer - 2012-09-26 01:21

      What? With all the cable theft and other shenanigans going on around rail transport, when do you think the job of freight handling will ever get done? When your meat and vegetables are in the third phase of decomposition and delivered by the flies that are stuck to it.?

      Mandy Casey - 2012-09-26 07:49

      Benefits of getting these juggernauts off the roads will need less repairs, hence cost tax payers less. Safer roads, less deaths. Rail must surely be cheaper with last mile truck. Cooling rail coaches are used for perishable produce.

      glen.e.huysamer - 2012-09-26 09:58

      Rail is only good for bulk goods, such as coal, iron ore, petroleum, and it would not mean that you will have less trucks on the road, it will just mean you will have an extra expense to the cost of transporting. Why? So that you can have an open road once a year, or maybe every other year when you impatiently do a road trip. If rail was a viability at this stage would privateers not have started doing so already, it only makes for extra burdening tax lay out, another corrupt parasitical parastatal which eventually becomes dissipated by bonus seeking CEO'S who destroy the infrastructure to increase profit margins instead of keeping it together and growing the business. Your little bit of impatience behind a truck is what decreases road safety. That being said there is much that can be done to improve truck road usage, but these have been set aside and ignored by government agencies, employers and unions as there are to many parties in the game which have fingers in the road freight pie holding conflicting interests. It would be far better to increase and improve public transport systems and have less people needing to own cars, this will also decrease the burden on tax payers, and will empower the poor who can not afford their own cars. As for making the roads safer, it is not trucks or cars that make roads unsafe, it is people that make roads unsafe.

      lisa.vanaswegen.12 - 2012-09-26 11:25

      Mandy, if you want to comment please do it from a position of knowledge not of ignorance of the entire road freight industry. You obviously have absulutely no understanding/knowledge of either the road freight or rail industry. The trucks you want off the roads are the life blood of the economy. Never condemn a man until you have walked in his shoes. When last did you try to navigate a 56ton combination truck through the traffic to deliver foods or goods to the ungrateful drivers on the roads who show no respect for trucks. Live and let live.

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