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 Transnet union threatens more turmoil

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PosOnderwerp: Transnet union threatens more turmoil   Sat May 22, 2010 4:56 pm



May 21 2010 20:31


Johannesburg - United Transport and Allied Trade Union members will resume work after the union accepted wage offers from Transnet and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA.

"The trains will be running as normal at the weekend through to Monday," Utatu general secretary Chris de Vos said on Friday.

Although the union only represented 28 percent of Prasa staff, non-union workers also returned to work on Friday morning.

The SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union said it represented 56 percent of Prasa employees.

Utatu signed agreements giving its members 10 and 11 percent wage increases at Prasa and Transnet respectively, De Vos said.

Prasa's administration and maintenance staff were all back at work on Friday.

Transnet employees belonging to Utatu would return to work at midnight on Friday.

"We believe we got a good offer. For the guys to go another week without pay is not a good thing, we just cannot afford that."

De Vos hoped Satawu members still on strike would allow Utatu members to work.

"We respect Satawu and that they still had to take the employers' latest offers to their members. We just hope that they will respect our members' decision and not intimidate them when returning to work."

Prasa spokesperson Nana Venani said some Utatu members returned to work on Friday, but that figures would only be available on Monday.

Utatu and Satawu members at Prasa began striking on Monday, shutting down services at Metrorail, Shosholoza Meyl and Autopax bus services countrywide.

At Transnet the two unions had been on strike for two weeks.

Satawu rejected both Transnet and Prasa's wage offers. Its president Ezrom Mabyana told a press briefing in Johannesburg on Friday the union would mobilise other sectors for a solidarity strike.

"In other words aluta continua, they will continue to be on strike. The ports will not move."

This would affect road freight, security, cleaners and other sectors. It would take seven days to apply for permission for a solidarity strike.

Satawu members want a 15% pay increase from Transnet and 13% at Prasa.

Transnet encouraged and appealed to all members of Satawu to return to work "after the acceptance of the offer by the majority of our employees".

"There is no need for colleagues, who have already lost two weeks' worth of pay, to lose more money as the new offer is fair," spokesperson John Dludlu said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

The company was disappointed Satawu had again rejected the offer which it called "generous" and "at the limit of what is reasonable" in the current economic environment.
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