WHEN the SA Railway and Harbour Workers Union announced yesterday that it was joining other unions in the Transnet strike that started on Monday, member Michael Mabaso did not give it a second thought.
Mabaso, a father of five, joined the strike because, he said, it was "difficult to make ends meet" with the meagre salary he earned at Transnet.
Having worked for Transnet for 29 years, Mabaso, a driver, said he is struggling to pay for his children's further education. He said his take home pay is R4800 a month.
"My youngest child, who matriculated last year, did not register to further his studies this year because I do not have money.
"I just hope his brother, who is doing his final year at Wits, graduates this year. It will then be his turn to go to a tertiary institution," he said.
Mabaso also has another child at University College in Midrand. A sole breadwinner, Mabaso said he could not pay for other things his family needed "because the money was not enough".
The unions are demanding a 15percent wage increase while Transnet is offering 11percent. Transnet management and union representatives were still locked in negotiations at the time of going to press last night.