bloody fuel strike

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi, Vusi Ndlovu and Sapa

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi, Vusi Ndlovu and Sapa

The wage strike by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union started on a bloody note yesterday, with two violent incidents in Ekurhuleni.

Around Johannesburg police reported incidents of truck stonings and intimidation of those who had not joined the strike.

Metro police spokesperson Mveli Nhlapo said a man was assaulted with knobkerries and was stoned in Kempton Park, while another man was dragged out of his truck in Isando and forced to join the strikers.

Truck drivers affiliated to Satawu embarked on a strike yesterday after the union and employers in the road freight industry reached a deadlock.

Talks to resolve a pay dispute between Satawu and the Road Freight Employers Association continued late yesterday.

The Association's spokesperson Magretia Brown said late yesterday that no agreement had been reached and the strike was set to continue today.

An 11 percent wage increase offer by the association reverted to a 10,5percent increase when Satawu took up protest action.

Satawu is demanding a salary of R6000 a month for long distance drivers, who earn R4317 a month.

The union is demanding a 13percent increase, four months' paid maternity leave and a job guarantee on return to work.

Satawu is also demanding that general workers' minimum salary be increased to R3000 from R2000.

Satawu said the strike would involve at least 30000 workers.

Brown said the Motor Transport Workers Union, the Professional Transport Workers Union, and the Transport and Allied Workers Union of South Africa would advise their members not to take part in the strike.

The association warned last week that a strike by truck drivers transporting fuel could create problems.

Most petrol stations had a two-day lead time, said the association's chief executive officer Peter Morgan.

Metro police had closed streets surrounding Be yers Naude Square, where striking drivers converged , to trucks because they were being stoned .