Satawu expects all 19 000 members to join strike
10 May 2010
Satawu’s Jane Barrett
South African Trade and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) said yesterday it is expecting all its 19 000 members who work for Transnet to join the strike which starts today.
But the United Transport and Allied Trade Union (Utatu)’s members will be hard at work after the union accepted an 11 percent pay hike the rail parastatal tabled on Friday.
Satawu’s Jane Barrett said, “The 11 percent that is being spoken about is not actually 11 percent because it means taking away other allowances such as housing and medical aid. The strike will last until the employer comes with a better offer.”
The strike would affect business divisions of the parastatal, including seven commercial ports, the rail freight network and pipeline that transports fuel from Durban to Gauteng.
Metrorail services would not be affected though.
Barrett said their demands include:
* Employment of more than 5 000 temporary workers;
* Negotiations on retrenchments; and
* Improvement of existing terms of maternity leave and paternity leave.
She said while all the demands were important, the placement of temporary staff, some of whom have been with the parastatal for more than 17 years, was paramount.
Utatu said they reviewed their position because they considered the country’s economic situation.
Dennis George said Utatu would present the offer to its members today.
“We will visit branches and present the offer. Otherwise it will be business as usual,” George said.
Transnet’s chief negotiator and group chief executive Pradeep Maharaj said he was disappointed with Satawu’s about-turn.
“After two months of negotiations, it is time for all our employees to make up their minds on our offer which is twice the rate of inflation,” Maharaj said.
He said they were not expecting negotiations until tomorrow (tue) afternoon after the unions have reported back to their members.
He said Transnet would engage police to ensure the safety of non-striking workers. – Vusi Xaba